New Delhi, Jul 13: Some members of a Parliamentary panel today voiced concern that their image was being "wrongly portrayed" over the recommendation for a hike in salaries even as an MP said parliamentarians in India were getting "much less" than those in other Commonwealth Nations.
They demanded that the government project the issue in right perspective as the panel, looking into the issue of salary and allowances of MPs, decided to hold its next meeting only after the Monsoon Session amid indications that it could take back a number of its earlier proposals.
The panel refrained from discussing its core demands today amid criticism over its demands for a double hike in salary and allowances besides other perks.
While Parliamentary Affairs Ministry has already rejected most of the recommendations of the panel, voices of disapproval have also come from senior leaders of major parties like Congress and BJP. Monsoon session, which begins on July 21 will come to an end on August 13.
Incidentally, though some leaders in both the major parties like Ahmed Patel in Congress and Shanta Kumar in BJP disapproved of the MPs' demands, the members from all parties in the panel were almost unanimous that their salary and allowances should go up.
Members also asked BJP MP Yogi Adityanath, who heads the Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament, to take up this issue with Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, sources said adding that a meeting between them is possible not before long over the issue.
It is learnt that the Chairman expressed concern over confidential details of the panel meetings and recommendations coming out in the media.
Sources said that a senior member in the panel gave a detailed note on the salary of MPs of other Commonwealth Nations saying that members of Parliament in India are getting much less in comparison to what they are getting in some other countries.
Sources said that though the agenda of the meeting was to discuss car loan for MPs, almost half of the time of the meeting was dominated by a concern raised by MPs that the issue of their hike in salary and allowances is being projected in a manner, which is hurting their image.
Currently MPs can avail a car loan of Rs 4 lakh for which they have to pay an interest of 11.5 per cent. Some members said the amount is small to buy a good car while the interest rate is higher than what is available to general consumers.
"Many states sanction a much higher sum to their MLAs as loan for purchasing a car like Himachal Pradesh which allows up to Rs 20 lakh as loan to MLAs to buy vehicles. In Assam, it is up to Rs 30 lakh. This when there are on an average 5 to 10 assembly seats in a Parliamentary constituency. But an MP can get a loan only up to Rs 4 lakh.
"Similarly, an MP has to pay an interest of 11.5 per cent on his car loan while in the open market it is even as low as 10 per cent in some banks. These anomalies need to be corrected. It was discussed in detail in the meeting," a source said.