How much does one minute of a Parliament session cost?
The recent interruptions in the proceedings of Parliament are a hot topic of discussion among the intellectuals. The same question is being repeated by one and all as to why the hard earned money of the India Public is being wasted by the uproar of politicians.
In the ongoing chaos, a politician from Biju Janta Dal, Shri Jai Panda had announced that he will not accept the salary for the month of November and December since no welfare work for the people of the country has been done in these two months by the Parliament. He further quoted that since ten recent sessions after the last session of 2014, the least amount of work has been done by the Parliament during this session. He also expressed that in the winter session, the functioning of Parliament remained disrupted for about 90 hours leading to a loss of Rs. 144 crore to the exchequer which means operation of this session caused an expenditure of Rs. 2.5 lakhs/minute.
Image source:The Hindu
Let’s have a look at the expenditure incurred by the Parliament in conducting various sessions:-
Parliament and its Composition:-
The Parliament is the supreme legislative body of India comprising of the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and the President. The Duration for which the parliamentarians (members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) sit together to run the business of the House is known as ‘session’.
In a year, three sessions of the Parliament are conducted. These are named as:
1. Budget session- From February to May
2. Monsoon session- From July to September
3. Winter session- From November to December
Number of Members in the Parliament:-
At present, in Lok Sabha (lower house of the Parliament) the number of members is restricted to 545 which include two members from the Anglo-Indian community. However, in Rajya Sabha, the number of members is restricted to 245 which include 12 members nominated by the President of India from the fields of Science, Culture, Arts, History etc. In the last financial year, from April 2015 to March 2016, the Indian Taxpayers had given about Rs. 177 Crore as Salaries and other allowances to these parliamentarians.
Salaries of Parliamentarians:-
According to the figures provided by the Lok Sabha, the Parliamentarians are given Rs. 50,000 as monthly salary, Electorate allowance of Rs. 40,000, Rs. 15,000 as office expenses and Rs. 30,000 as Secretarial assistance expenses i.e. a total of Rs.1,40,000 is given to them every month. Further, the Parliamentarians are also provided with 34 free Air journeys and unlimited rail and Road Journeys across a year.
Modus Operandi of the Parliament:-
During a year, Parliamentary sessions work for about 100 days. On each working day Parliament works for about six hours. According to Statistics available, during the year 2016, about 90 hours were wasted due to disruptions in the proceedings of the Parliament. Due to this about Rs. 144 crore were lost (Rs. 138 crore to run the Parliament plus Rs. 6 crore for salaries and allowances of Members of Parliament).
Expenditure to run the Parliament for one minute:-
Let’s assume that the winter session of the Parliament runs for 15 days.
Total expenditure of the winter session=Rs. 144 Crores
Duration of everyday proceedings=6 hours
Working Hours of Parliament in the winter session=90 hours
Per Hour expenditure = Rs. 160000000/60 Minutes =Rs. 2.6 lakhs
Expenditure incurred in running the Parliament during every single minute=Rs. 2.6 lakhs
This means that the functioning of Parliament of India for a single minute leads to an expenditure of Rs. 2.5 lakhs approx. to the exchequer.
Proposed salaries for the Parliamentarians for future:-
The Government of India has proposed to increase the monthly salaries of the Parliamentarians from Rs. 50000 to Rs. 1,00,000/-, Electorate allowance from Rs. 45,000 to Rs. 90,000, and to increase the secretarial assistance allowance and office expenditure allowance from Rs. 45,000 to Rs. 90,000. If the finance minister Arun Jaitely agrees to the proposal, then the salary of the Parliamentarians would increase from Rs. 1.4 lakhs to Rs. 2.8 lakhs.
If the Government agrees to the proposal to hike the salary, then the expenditure to run the Parliament will also get doubled. In such a scenario, it becomes pertinent to raise the question as to whether the hike in salary of such members who just look forward to find means of disrupting the proceedings of Parliament is justified. Hence the need arises that the Parliamentarians should recall their responsibilities and work toward the welfare of the nation.