An open letter to my MP
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Posted on August 28, 2010 | Author: V Raghunathan | View 1393 | Comment : 1
There is no reason why our MPs cannot or should not have a performance-linked compensation structure The members will agree that the single most important role as an MP is to contribute towards nation-building The lifelong pension to members may be restricted to only those who have held at least two full terms
YOU and your brother MPs have been at a vuvuzela-like pitch for a steep hike in your emoluments.You are not entirely happy that your current emolument of.16,000 per month is being hiked to only.50,000 per month.Never mind that both of us know that these numbers hardly reflect the reality.The fact is that your cost-to-exchequer is in the region of.37 lakh.Even so,personally I am all for a package of even a bigger magnitude for a diligent,honest and conscientious MP.For a country as large and complex as ours,I think we can certainly afford to pay our MPs far better.
The problem is that whatever the public perception of our parliamentarians,it is not that of diligent,honest or conscientious parliamentarians discharging their constitutional roles.Consider the track-record of your attendance,woeful lack of meaningful participation in parliamentary debates,extent of work done in your own constituency,your demeanour in the House of Parliament in full public glare when you threw that mike at the Speaker and had to be carried away by the marshals,and your contribution to the national development indices,et cetera,et cetera.
Much discussion has centred around whether the extent of the raise you are seeking,or rather,giving yourself,is justified.Strangely,little has been said either by you or by the media on the desirability of splitting your compensation into a fixed and variable component a practice prevalent in most performing organisations but not in the government.But then,whoever accused the government of being aperforming entity,in general I do hope,as our leaders,you are all for leading the way to making our Parliament a performing organisation.If so,there is no reason why you all cannot or should not have a performance-linked compensation structure.
You want a modest.1 more than the Cabinet Secretary.Personally,I see no reason why you should not be paid much higher,say.60 lakh per annum,provided you discharge your constitutional roles fully.Surely you dont object to that,do you I think you will agree too that your single most important role as an MP is to contribute towards nation-building.What are the parameters of nation-building To refresh your memory,surely passing relevant and important bills after due and meaningful debates in Parliament is one of your key deliverables Also,if you are a diligent and conscientious MP,you would attend at least 80% of the parliamentary sessions and be present through the proceedings,wont you That incidentally is what we expect in some of our better educational institutions.
Besides,I dont know if you are among those MPs who have never been known to have opened their mouths in Parliament.While in many cases it may be best that they didnt,I am sure you will agree that such members cannot be viewed as adding to the parliamentary processes.Also,you will agree that impairing the decorum of the House and not disrupting its proceedings should have some weight as well.So every time you walk out,or resort to unruly or rowdy behaviour in the well of the House,thus wasting the time of Parliament,we should count that as impairing the decorum of the House.Surely you agree And lastly we should also count your contribution to your own constituency,which elected you.Surely you have a responsibility towards your promises
In short,it should be relatively a simple affair to develop an appropriate performance evaluation system to assess the quality of your contribution to parliamentary polity.With appropriate weights to parameters similar to those enumerated above,give or take,any neighbourhood HR consultant should be able to develop a five-point scale of performance,say,from 1 to 5,like did not discharge duty at all (1); just about discharged duty (2); discharged duty (3); discharged duty beyond expectations (4) and discharged duty way beyond expectations.
We could split the cost to government or CTG (say,excluding travel) into.24 lakh as fixed component and a maximum of.36 lakh as variable component.An MP rated 1,2,3,4 or 5 could earn.24,.33,.42,.51 or.60 lakh respectively,all taxable,as for any ordinary citizen.Surely there is enough incentive in such a structure for you all to perform I think you should be paid in a lump sum except for the expenserelated facilities like a railway pass,etc.
The Speakers office could easily coordinate the performance evaluation system of the MPs.What is more,the performance of the MPs should be a public document so that the voting public is empowered better.
And yes,why should you get a lifelong pension even if you have been an MP for a mere day Why should we not expect you to have held at least two full terms to deserve such largesse Of course you are unlikely to accept a proposal such as this,especially when,like our IAS brothers,you are in a position to vote a nice package for yourself,without any accountability whatever.
(The author is CEO,GMR Varalakshmi Foundation.Views are personal.)