MPs demand more perks, incentives amid public criticism

Published On: November 17, 2016 07:59 AM NPT By: Ashok Dahal  | @ashokpillar

KATHMANDU, Nov 16: Dissatisfied with the proposed increment on their perks and incentives, lawmakers have demanded more benefits from the state coffers.

Registering amendments to the bill to amend perks and facilities to the office bearers and members of federal parliament, which is under discussion in the parliament, lawmakers have demanded pension and Dashain allowances in addition to their salaries.
Lawmakers’ demand for more perks and allowances has come amid public criticism over the under-discussion bill that proposes exorbitant increase in perks and incentives to lawmakers.

A Member of Parliament has demanded that the state provide pension to the lawmakers who promulgated the new constitution through the Constituent Assembly. Registering her amendment, Rastriya Janamukti Party lawmaker Seema Kumari Bishwakarma, demanded pension for the incumbent 601 lawmakers. “I have also demanded one month extra salary for lawmakers during Dashain because government provides Dashain bonus to all government employees,” she argued.

Likewise, half a dozen lawmakers from CPN-UML, including Tara Rai, have demanded travel expenditure thrice a year to visit their constituencies. The bill under discussion has proposed providing travel expenditure to lawmakers when a new House session starts and it is prorogued. “We have also demanded increment in the amount for renting flat as the proposed Rs 18,000 per month is insufficient to rent a decent flat in Kathmandu,” said Rai. 

The lawmakers have also demanded medical expenses up to Rs 1 million for lawmakers who have poor economic background. “Politicians are misusing state coffers in the name of medical expenses even if they afford to pay medical fees on their own. Our proposal is that such support should be extended only on the basis of economic status of the concerned lawmaker,” said lawmaker Rai.

Rai, among other lawmakers, has suggested cutting off the furnishing allowance and walk allowance provided to lawmakers for travelling on foot in remote districts. The existing act provides Rs 25 as walk allowance per 3 km. Similarly, in a separate amendment proposal, UML lawmakers including Pemba Lama, Shiva Kumari Gotame and Ratna Gurung have also demanded cutting off walk allowances and furnishing allowance.
Meanwhile, lawmakers from fringe political parties have demanded equal recognition and facilities for small political parties as well. Shadbhawana Party lawmaker Narsingh Chaudhari has registered an amendment proposal demanding that the leader of a political party whose lawmakers make up at least 1.5 percent members in the House be allowed to become the main opposition leader. The bill proposes that only political parties whose lawmakers comprise at least 10 percent of the total members of House can enjoy the facilities provided to the main opposition political party. The bill also proposes various perks and facilities for the leader of the main opposition party.

Earlier, speaking in the deliberations over the bill in the House, lawmakers Kamala Panta and Buddhiram Bhandari demanded personal vehicles for lawmakers.

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