POLITICS

Odisha Lawmaker Jay Panda To Return Part Of His Salary Over Winter Session Washout

The second least productive session in 17 years. 

18/12/2016 1:04 PM IST | Updated 18/12/2016 2:38 PM IST
Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Biju Janata Dal lawmaker Baijayant Panda's tweet about returning a part of his salary has got retweeted over 2000 times over the past two days.

Following the end of the dismal Winter Session on Friday, Panda, a Lok Sabha MP from the Kendrapara constituency in Odisha, tweeted, "Winter session of Parlmt ends after passing the disabilities bill. Phew! As usual, i'll be returning salary proportional to time wasted/lost."

The "united" attack launched by the Opposition against the Modi government's demonetisation drive arrested most of the Winter Session. The few attempts to debate the issue eventually descended into chaos.

The Winter Session of 2016 is the least productive Lok Sabha session since 2010, and the second least productive session in 17 years, according to PRS Legislative Research. The Lok Sabha has only a 15 percent productivity this session. The Rajya Sabha fared a little better at 20 percent.

According to official figures, India paid Rs.176 crore to 543 Lok Sabha members in salaries and expenses over the last year, or just over Rs. 2.7 lakh a month per lawmaker. MPs are entitled to Rs.50,000 per month as salary, Rs.45,000 as constituency allowance, Rs.15,000 as office expenses and Rs.30,000 for secretarial assistance.

While Panda has received a fair share of accolades for his decision, there are some lawmakers who differ with his approach. While the Bharatiya Janata Party's Prahlad Singh Patel told The Times of India that Panda could afford to give up his salary because he came from an affluent family, Congress Party's Kanti Lal Bhuria felt that he had done his job.

"When the whole country is suffering because of the mismanagement in the implementation of the demonetisation decision, isn't it the opposition's duty to protest? As a Congress MP, I did my job. Jay Panda may have his own opinion," he told TOI.

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