Here's why BJP's Varun Gandhi feels 'privileged' MPs shouldn't get salaries

He says it will curb the rising income gap.

Days after an Oxfam report ‘Reward Work, Not Wealth’ talked about the glaring gap in wealth between the rich and the poor across the world, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Varun Gandhi has come up with a solution to tackle it. The parliamentarian from Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh has proposed that ‘rich parliamentarians’ should forego salaries for their remaining Lok Sabha terms.

Gandhi wrote to the Speaker, as per a Hindustan Times report: request to you Madam Speaker, is to initiate a movement aimed at the economically advantaged MPs, to forego our remuneration for the remainder of this 16th Lok Sabha. Freezing our salaries for the rest of the 16th Lok Sabha would also be seen as a welcome step in this direction.

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A file photo of Varun Gandhi | Source: Indian Express


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While adding that the growing divide is detrimental to India’s democracy, he said,” we as public representatives must be seen to be more responsive to our country’s socio-economic realities.” He also suggested creating an independent, statutory body to ascertain the affordability of the move and the need for an increase in fiscal compensation for MPs.

MPs in India receive a remuneration that includes a basic salary of Rs 50,000 per month, Rs 45,000 as constituency allowance as well as several other perks and amenities.  Gandhi’s suggestion comes in the backdrop of the Oxfam report that stated that the richest 1% in India cornered 73% of the wealth generated in the country in 2017.

This isn’t the first instance where Gandhi had objections with high salaries of the elected lawmakers. In August last year,  he questioned the lawmakers’ power to hike their own salaries. He had then pitched for an external body to decide on salary hike for lawmakers to know whether the MPs had ‘earned’ the 400% pay hike they had given to themselves in the last ten years, reports PTI.