Varun Gandhi Wants Rich MPs to Forego Salary to Reduce Inequality Gap

New Delhi: BJP MP Varun Gandhi has urged Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to initiate a “movement” to encourage economically advantaged Lok Sabha members to forego their remunerations for the remaining term of the Lower House.

The move would reinforce people’s faith in their representatives, he said.

“A voluntary exercise such as this would send a positive message across the nation regarding the level of sensitivity we possess as elected representatives,” he wrote in a letter to Mahajan.

He also suggested creating an independent, statutory body to ascertain the affordability of the move and the need for an increase in financial compensation for MPs.

The Sultanpur MP expressed concern over the widening inequality in the country, saying it was “detrimental” to democracy.

“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 the socio-economic realities of our country,” the letter read.

Gandhi underlined that the move may trouble a few MPs. The remuneration of an MP includes a basic salary of Rs 50,000 per month, Rs 45,000 as constituency allowance, among other allowances. The government spends roughly Rs 2.7 lakh per MP per month, he wrote in the letter.

The number of MPs with assets worth over Rs 1 crore rose sharply from 319 in 2009 to 449 at present. Roughly 24 percent or 132 Lok Sabha members have declared assets worth over Rs 10 crore.

According to a report, the average value of MPs’ assets in the 16th Lok Sabha is Rs 14.61 crore.

Over the last decade, salaries of parliamentarians have increased by 400 percent, a rise that is unlikely even in the profit-driven private sector, he added.