ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Wednesday opposed the Members of Parliament (Salaries and Allowances) (Amendment) Bill, 2020 in the Senate which aims to extend the facility of 25 air tickets provided to the parliamentarians to their family members.
The said bill was moved in the National Assembly (NA) by the government on March 9, 2020 by the minister of state for parliamentary affairs and later transferred to senate as Money Bill.
In Senate, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan laid a copy of the Money Bill on June 5, 2020 and referred to Standing Committee on Finance for consideration.
Despite being a bill moved by the government, the Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar opposed it and said that the provision of 25 business class air tickets is a privilege of the parliament members facilitating them to travel in connection with proceedings of the parliament. He said that the same cannot be extended to their families.
However, the report of the Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs mentioned that there was no further burden on the national exchequer since the facility is being availed by the parliamentarians already, which can be now availed by their spouses and children up to 18 years of age.
The committee recommended to the NA that this bill may be passed without any amendment.
Under Rule 130 (8), the Senate adopted the motion to adopt the recommendations on this bill as reported by the Standing Committee.
The statement of object and reasons of the bill said that section 10 of the existing act regulated free travel privileges for the parliamentarians, who are entitled to 25 business class open return air tickets per year from airport nearest to their constituencies to Islamabad.
It said that there has been a persistent demand by the parliamentarians to extend the utility of 25 air tickets to their family members as well. Therefore, vouchers of equal value in lieu of admissible 25 business class open return air tickets were proposed to be issued to the parliamentarians, which may be utilised by their family members as well.
Section 10 further says that every parliamentarian will be provided such vouchers valuing Rs300,000 per year, that would enable them to travel within Pakistan at any time without payment of any fair by air or by rail.
The number of air tickets that can be availed will remain at 25 per year and lawmakers will be able to take refund on unused air tickets.