As an extra-burden to the state treasury, the government has decided to provide Rs 20 thousand monthly transportation allowances to the Parliamentary Party (PP) leaders of 30 different parties.
The decision made by the Cabinet on June 16 was kept in the dark to avoid public criticisms against the lawmakers who are continuously hunting for money and additional facilities.
Earlier, officials at Parliament Secretariat and the Prime Minister’s Office had said that such decision was not reached. However, the matter was revealed after it was posted in the government’s official website.
Following the Cabinet decision, the Parliament Secretariat has started providing the amount to parliamentary party leaders of all 30 parties at the CA.
The decision states that Rs 20 thousand would be provided to the PP leader of all parties for transportation, fuel and salary for the driver. Parties’ demand for vehicle, however, was denied by the government.
The government took such decision following the pressure from the leaders of fringe parties. As per the existing laws, only the PP leaders of ruling and opposition parties get the transportation facilities. Minister for Law, Justice, Parliamentary Affairs and Constituent Assembly (CA) Nara Hari Acharya had taken the proposal to provide transportation allowances to the Cabinet.
Following the decision, parties that secured one seat in the election can also get such allowance. Earlier in 2009, CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal-led government had provided vehicles to all PP leaders to get their support for the government.
Lawmakers are also pressing the government to increase their salary and rental allowances saying that current Rs 6,000 is not sufficient. According to sources, a group of lawmakers is pressing CA Chairman Subas Nembang and Minister Acharaya to increase such allowances.
Due to the pressure, government has already decided to construct a common residence for the lawmakers. Some lawmakers also launched a signature campaign demanding that the government should purchase vehicles for them but the proposal was turned down by the government and the Speaker. Women lawmakers are demanding separate facilities for them.
Earlier, lawmaker’s demand of Rs 50 million for each of their constituencies had drawn criticisms from all walks of life. Later, the Ministry of Finance agreed to allocate Rs 10 million under the heading of Constituency Development Fund.