The National Assembly on Thursday adopted the report of a committee proposing an increase in the salaries of members of the National Assembly and the Senate.
Looking at the number it is evident that proposed raise in salaries and allowances is manifold. The committee proposes that basic salary of a lawmaker should be increased from Rs 36,420 to Rs 200,000 and office maintenance allowance from Rs 8,000 to Rs 100,000. It proposes that the basic salary of the speaker/chairman should be increased from Rs 97,124 to Rs 400,000.
Core theme behind the report of committee is that lawmakers have high standing in the society and their remuneration should reflect this. Viewpoint can be agreed but it is also true that reward is usually interlinked with the responsibilities. One of the responsibilities is to share the hardships as government asks other to do very often.
During the last six years, remuneration of the parliamentarians has been increased doubled through allowances they get. This increase should be enough we say after looking at the economic condition of the country that is still trying to gain stability. Parliamentarians avail with official residential facilities, blue passports, exemptions from checks at airports and utilizing VIP facilities etc. In addition, the legislators are given ample allowances for travel, stay and telephone use.
It would enhance moral supremacy of parliament if lawmakers say no to the proposed pay raises and use the opportunity to indicate that their own welfare comes second. Else it would be a seen to watch that lawmakers are giving themselves a massive pay raise while finance minister is struggling to explain new revenue measures in the forthcoming budget.
Lawmakers should say no to massive pay raise to indicate their own welfare comes second.