Saturday 6 June 2020

Indian PM, other leaders take 30pc salary cut; MP funds frozen

NEW DELHI, April 7, 2020

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other top government figures will take a 30 per cent salary cut this year, a government minister said, as the country tackles the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the economy. India’s new financial year began on April 1. 
These include President Ram Nath Kovind, Governors of all states and members of both Houses of Parliament, who will be forgoing 30 per cent of their salaries this year as part of their social responsibility to fight the coronavirus, Covid-19, pandemic.
In view of the emerging situation arising due to the rapid spread of coronavirus, the cabinet promulgated an ordinance to reduce the salaries, allowances and pensions of Members of Parliament (MPs) by 30 per cent for one year, stated Prakash Javadekar, the designated minister who briefs on meetings of the Union Council of Ministers, in a presser. 
Modi had on Sunday consulted several opposition leaders and got their approval for the measure. President Kovind will now issue an ordinance sanctioning the cut since Parliament went into recess a few weeks ago in view of rising virus cases.
The Cabinet also approved the temporary suspension of the MPLAD (Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) Fund during 2020-21 & 2021-22. The consolidated amount of MPLAD Funds for 2 years - Rs 7900 crores - will go to Consolidated Fund of India, declared Prakash Javadekar in the press briefing, said media reports citing Javadekar.
The ordinance - an amendment to Members of Parliament Act, 1954, will reduce the allowances and pension by 30 per cent with effect from April 1, 2020. The reduction will be applicable for a year.
"Apart from the ordinance on MP salary, President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu and many state governors and lieutenant-governors have also voluntarily decided to take a pay cut as a social responsibility," the Union minister added.
Among India’s states, Maharashtra has recorded the highest number of 45 deaths from Covid-19. The highest number of confirmed cases, now at 690, is also from Maharashtra.
In India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, with 227 cases, Additional Chief Secretary, Awanish Awasthi, today refused to give any assurance that the lockdown will end on April 14.
"Since the number of Coronavirus cases has gone up markedly in the past couple of days, it would not be right to say that the lockdown will be lifted after April 4. Lifting it would not be right as the entire work done so far to control the virus would go in vain," a senior civil servant said.
India’s total number of COVID-19 cases today rose to 4,067 and the number of deaths to 109, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare here. A total of 291 persons have been cured of the disease.



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