MPs give themselves a raise, through fast track

Published On: November 21, 2016 02:20 AM NPT By: Ashok Dahal  | @ashokpillar

-They will now draw minimum Rs 80,000 to Rs 140,000 a month
-Impeachment motion put on hold for 9 days

KATHMANDU, Nov 21: Members of Parliament have endorsed a bill to increase their own salary and perks through a fast-track process while putting the deliberations on impeachment motion filed against CIAA chief Lokman Singh Karki on hold.

Despite widespread criticism from various sectors for delaying the process of the impeachment motion filed a month ago in parliament, the speaker and lawmakers didn't expedite the deliberations on the impeachment motion. 

Immediately after registration of the motion in parliament, speaker had announced her plan to conclude the deliberations on the impeachment motion in parliament within a few days.

But on Sunday she flew to Russia for a six-day visit deferring the next House meeting till November 29.
Lawmakers have started venting ire against the speaker over the delay in forwarding the motion to the Impeachment Recommendation Committee. The committee can work on the motion only after the speaker concludes the ongoing deliberations on the motion and forwards it to the committee.

The speaker and lawmakers on Sunday stood united to endorse the bill to increase their own salary, perks and facility through a fast-track process. They even didn't forward the bill to any committee for detailed discussion on the issue.

Earlier, the parliament used to forward bills, having few amendment proposals, to respective parliamentary panels to study the matter and make suggestions on the amendment proposals. Lawmakers from various political parties had registered seven amendment proposals on 52 clauses of the bill. 

But the House on Sunday tabled the bill for clause-wise deliberation, took decision on amendment proposals and endorsed the bill from a single sitting of the House. The work done at the meeting was exceptionally fast in comparison to the time taken to endorse other bills in the past.

Over a dozen of bills registered at the parliament secretariat that are essential for bringing several provisions of the new constitution into implementation are however gathering dust in parliament.

The meeting endorsed an amendment proposal from the Nepali Congress (NC) Chief Whip Chinkaji Shrestha and rejected the other proposals to expedite the bill's passage. The House however rejected some amendment proposals that demanded pension and Dashain allowances for lawmakers, tax waiver to purchase vehicles, and personal security officer to lawmakers. 

With the endorsement of the bill, the lawmakers will now receive Rs 1,000 for attending a House meeting or a parliamentary committee meeting. They will separately get Rs 1,000 as transportation allowance to attend a meeting. So far, they were receiving Rs 200 as meeting allowances and Rs 150 as transport allowances. 

They passed an additional amendment proposal to give it the retroactive authority so that they can receive the increased salary with effect from mid-July.

The endorsed bill has proposed increasing the basic salary of lawmakers from existing Rs 44,180 to Rs 55,230. Apart from the basic salary, the lawmakers draw additional amount for house rent, transport expenses and other perks and facilities. In total, their minimum monthly salary will be Rs 80,000 without including the meeting and transport allowances.

A lawmaker who regularly attends the full House meeting or a parliamentary committee meeting for 30 days a month will draw up to Rs 140,000.

The new bill has proposed providing Rs 15,000 as room furnishing allowance for a lawmaker. This amount is given for one time. They have also increased their insurance amount for their foreign trips. 

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