New Delhi, April 30 (IANS) The government may soon provide post-retirement facilities to former speakers of the Lok Sabha, as being provided at present to former presidents, vice presidents and prime ministers. The facilities may include free housing, transportation and also expenses on maintaining office and some staff.
Such a proposal, as requested by former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma, is "under the active consideration" of the government, according to sources in the Lok Sabha Secretariat and the central government.
The move comes after Sangma wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar in this regard earlier this year, the sources said here.
"We are thinking about it. But the matter is at a very initial stage," they said, adding that nothing has yet been decided on what would constitute the retirement benefits for former speakers.
They also pointed out that Lok Sabha speakers were the only constitutional office in the country that did not enjoy any post-retirement perks. The speaker is accorded seniority along with the Chief Justice of India in the order of precedence when it comes to government protocols.
The matter also came into sharp focus after former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee requested Meira Kumar for accommodation and transportation facilities when he visited the national capital in recent months, sources said.
The letter from Sangma, sources said, has now been forwarded to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who has taken it up for "active consideration" of the government.
When asked about the proposal, Bansal noted that "the status of a former president or vice president is different from the status of a former speaker". But he did not elaborate.
If accepted and implemented, the idea of post-retirement facilities may benefit former speakers Manohar Joshi, Shivraj Patil and Rabi Ray, besides Sangma and Chatterjee.
Members of Parliament who complete a minimum of three years of their five-year term are entitled to a monthly pension of Rs.20,000. If the member has served for more than two terms, he is entitled to an additional pension of Rs.1,500 per month for every additional year he has served.
The MPs also get free train travel in two-tier air-conditioned coaches along with a companion or a first class air-conditioned travel when travelling alone, besides free healthcare under the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS).
Former presidents, vice presidents and prime ministers get better facilities such as furnished accommodation, a private secretary, staff members, office expenses, a chauffeur-driven car, telephone allowance, and top class travel.
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