Saturday, September 09, 2017

MPs flying business class: D Raja calls for amendment in Travel Allowance rules

A day after India Today exposed Members of Parliament flying business class for official purposes and claiming huge amounts as Dearness Allowance (DA), Communist Party of India (CPI) National Secretary and Rajya Sabha MP D Raja has called for amendment in Travel Allowance rules.
'The law must be amended after discussion and consensus on it, we will support if government comes up with any such proposal,' he told India Today. Raja is one of the top spenders among Rajya Sabha MPs. While, the Trinamool Congress MP Sukhendu Shekhar Roy who has claimed travel allowance bill upto Rs 1 lakh 23 thousand argued that his travels were as per rules. An RTI on TA/DA of MPs had revealed that bills worth a whopping Rs 130 Crore were cleared by the Parliament secretariat for the financial year 2016-17.
While talking to India Today, D Raja said, 'Whenever we travel the bill is sent to the secretariat which scrutinizes and sanctions as per rule, if rules are unfair it should modified.'
'For me politics is a mission to serve people and not make money out of it. Left parties have been demanding independent mechanism to decide salaries and allowances of MPs,' he added. Mr Raja clarified that he rarely travels private airlines and mostly by official carrier Air India. 'My TA/DA claims are high because I am a member of three committees of the Parliament and I travel more than most MPs,' he said when asked to react on his huge claim bill worth Rs 65 lakh.
Trinamool Congress MP Sukhendu Shekhar Roy is the third highest spender among the Rajya Sabha MPs. He claimed whopping Rs 61 lakhs as TA/DA for year 2016-17. On being asked about it, Mr Roy told India Today,' In order to find out whether it is a valid response or not, you check up with the competent authority, I am not the competent authority.'
'It was disbursed by the Rajya Sabha's secretariat, you clarify and ascertain the position from them only, I am neither conforming nor denying you,' he added. While another Trinamool MP Nadimul Haq passed the buck on to the party and said,' Go and ask party spokesperson Derek O'Brien, everything will happen according to party decision.'
08/09/17 Anand Patel/India Today