In an unprecedented move, the Union Cabinet cleared an ordinance to slash the salaries of Parliamentarians and Ministers by 30 per cent for one year in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis.
The Cabinet further decided to suspend the MP Local Area Development Scheme for two years and transfer the money into the government’s consolidated fund.
MPLADS funds for two years come to around Rs 7,900 crore.
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters that President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and all Governors had also offered to take a 30 per cent cut in their salaries.
This ordinance will amend the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954 to reduce the allowances and pension by 30% starting April 1, 2020 for a year.
Javadekar said the move, which will include the Prime Minister and all Ministers, is part of the Government’s efforts to address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis.
The fund will be used to buy equipment for government hospitals and dispensaries, medical testing and screening of patients and set up other related facilities.
Meeting the Council of Ministers through video conferencing, the Prime Minister underlined the importance of being motivated, determined and vigilant in the battle against COVID-19.
He asked Ministers to remain in touch with State and District Administration, provide solutions to problems and also formulate district level micro plans. He also urged them to monitor and ensure that benefits of Garib Kalyan Yojana reach the intended beneficiaries seamlessly.
Prime Minister Modi also asked the ministries to prepare a Business Continuity Plan to absorb the economic impact of COVID-19.
Calling the crisis an opportunity to boost the Make in India program, he urged each Ministry to identify ten key decisions and ten priority areas for focused attention once the lockdown ends.
Top officials gave detailed presentations on the steps being taken to meet the challenges. Union Ministers, Principal Secretary, Cabinet Secretary and other senior officials took part in the interaction.