With prices rising, lawmakers of the world's largest democracy are seeking a better pay package.
A Parliamentary committee has recommended that the monthly salary of MPs be hiked from Rs 16,000 to Rs 80,001, a rupee more than a Secretary to the Union Government.
The matter is under the consideration of the Government. Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal said the extent of hike in salary and allowances of MPs has not been decided.
"Nothing has been finalised. Everything is under discussion. Very soon, we will take it up with concerned ministries. We hope to take it to the Cabinet so as to introduce a bill in the coming session of Parliament" beginning next month, he said.
Bansal insisted that there was "nothing wrong" in Parliament amending the relevant Act periodically keeping in view the increased cost of living and other expenses.
The last hike in salaries and allowances of 795 MPs -- 545 of Lok Sabha and 250 of Rajya Sabha -- was effected some ten years back. The Sixth Pay Commission for government servants came into effect from January 2006.
The manner in which the hike has been sought to be brought about has raised a controversy. CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury has already said his party would oppose the move of Parliamentarians themselves deciding on their pay hike as it was "wrong".
In the last Lok Sabha too, then Speaker Somnath Chatterjee had favoured an institutional mechanism like a Salary Commission to go into the issue and had even written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as he felt that it was not proper that MPs themselves decide on their pay packet. PTI