Monday, September 21, 2009

Political Perks: Benefits of being a Member of Parliament

Given the austerity drive launched by the government, Mail Today newspaper, on 17 Sept 2009, provided a brief sketch of the salaries and benefits our Members of Parliament enjoy. The paper also compared those with legislators from the United States and the United Kingdom.

India: Members of Parliament

Basic salary: Rs 1,92,000 per annum
Constituency allowance: Rs 2,40,000 per annum (for Lok Sabha)
Daily Allowance: Rs 1,000 (when Parliament is in session)
Gadgets: Laptop*
Benefits: House, Air travel, Train travel, Telephone, Medical facilities

Benefits Enjoyed by Ministers:

Extra Salary: Rs 24,000
In addition,
* A Type VIII bungalow, estimated 900 sq metres (including surrounding grounds)
* Salary and allowances worth more than Rs 11 lakhs per month
* Staff (for Cabinet ministers): 16 staff members, including private secretaries, officer on special duty (OSD), messengers, peons, drivers,
* Staff (for deputy ministers): 13 staff members
* Security: At least 3 Delhi Police constables on daily basis
* Vehicles: A car to be used in Delhi, and one in the state to which the minister belongs (including free petrol); vehicle and driver for private secretary also
* Telephone connection: With unlimited ISD and STD and local call facilities
* Flights: 48 free ticket in flights
* Health benefits: Free of charge accommodation and treatment in hospitals maintained by the government for the minister and family
* Furniture and electrical equipments worth Rs 2.5 lakhs

Except for the Laptop, this list has been compiled as published in the Mail Today newspaper. Following is a brief outline of benefits enjoyed by legislators in the United Kingdom and the United States.

United States
Salary and benefits enjoyed by Congressman

Member of the House: $ 1,74, 000 per annum (Rs 83.5 lakhs)
Speaker of the House: $ 2,23,500 (Rs 1.07 crore)
House Majority Leader: $ 1,93,000 (Rs 92 lakhs)
House Minority Leader: $ 1,93,000 (Rs 92 lakhs)

Senate Majority Leader: $ 1,93,000 (Rs 92 lakhs)
Senate Minority Leader: $ 1,93,000 (Rs 92 lakhs)

Other Benefits: Same as those availed by other Federal employees.

United Kingdom
Salary and benefits enjoyed by Members of Parliament

Basic Salary: £ 64,766 per annum (Rs 51 lakhs)
Extra Salary (for select Committee Chairs): £ 14,039 (Rs 11 Lakhs)
General Benefits:
* Buying and furnishing a second home,
* Cost of travel by car, rail or bike:
* Monthly allowance for food: £ 400 (Rs 32,000)
* Summer holidays: 80 days

Office Benefits: Office running costs, Staffing costs, Travel for staff, Centrally purchased stationary, Postage costs, Central IT costs, Communication allowance
Golden Goodbye: Amount received by MPs on leaving House, the first £ 30,000 of which is tax free

It would be good to hear from you. What do you think of the benefits enjoyed by our MPs? Would appreciate if others could verify these figures, and correct mistakes if any, or add items that we might have missed. Also, it would be interesting if similar information about legislators from other countries could be added to this list.

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