There has been a popular conception that salary hike for MPs in India extremely unwanted as many of them are already so rich and few of them hail from upper strata of society. BJP MP Varun Gandhi has come up with an interesting proposition. He has urged Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to initiate a unique movement.
According to him, it would be an exemplary movement if the rich Indian MPs forgo their salaries for the remaining term of the present (16th) Lok Sabha. Incidentally, the term of the lower House will end in May next year before the upcoming Lok Sabha election.
In his letter, Varun Gandhi clearly mentioned, “A voluntary exercise such as this will send a positive message across the nation regarding the level of sensitivity that we possess as elected representatives. If relinquishing salaries is too much to ask for, the Speaker could introduce a fresh narrative focussed on an alternative strategy rather than the current practice of arrogating of salaries at will to ourselves.
India’s inequality gap is widening further every day… A growing divide is detrimental to our democracy and we as public representatives must be seen to be more responsive to our country’s socio-economic realities.” Anyhow what Varun Gandhi is saying is not without any statistical data.
A report of Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) categorically highlights that 132 sitting Lok Sabha MPs (roughly 24%) had declared assets of more than Rs 10 crore and average assets of MPs in the 16th Lok Sabha was Rs 14.61 crore. Thus Varun Gandhi’s proposal does have credibility and is indeed a novel idea considering the reality of India.