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NEW DELHI: Only 15% of a bill of Rs 7.8 crore raised by
the Indian Railways for the Rajya Sabha
to pay for travel undertaken by MPs, their spouses and attendants in 2019 accounted for actual travel or journeys completed. The rest are cases of
that were not utilised except for the purpose of claiming free travel.
A detailed assessment ordered by vice president and
M Venkaiah Naidu
has resulted in shocking revelations.
A former member of the upper house made 63 bookings — nearly 4 bookings every day for 23 days in January, 2019 totalling a whopping Rs 1.69 lakh — which was in contrast to only 7 train journeys he actually undertook, the fare for which was merely Rs 22,085. The Rajya Sabha Secretariat, however, was billed an extra amount of Rs 1.47 lakh for the MP’s tickets that he neither cancelled nor used. Similarly, a sitting member’s claim amounted to only 15% of the bills raised.
The audit conducted by officials of the Upper House has led the Rajya Sabha secretariat to issue an unprecedented warning to MPs that they will be made to pay for train tickets that they book, but do not utilise or cancel.
The Rajya Sabha secretary general issued the directions on June 10 after the scale of the alleged misuse was revealed.
The move, a part of Rajya Sabha’s measures to
in wasteful expenditure and resultant inconvenience to public, comes into effect immediately.
The Lok Sabha secretariat, sources said, has been served an even bigger bill of Rs 23.4 crore for travel undertaken by MPs in 2019. To monitor expenses better, the railways is likely to operationalise a change in software for train bookings by MPs of both Houses.
As part of their allowances, MPs are entitled to one free, non-transferable train journey in first class, air-conditioned or executive class for themselves, free travel by any railway with their spouse,, and one free air-conditioned, two-tier class railway pass for one person to accompany the member when he or she travels by rail.
A detailed assessment ordered by vice president and Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu has resulted in shocking revelations. Only 15% of a bill of Rs 7.8 crore raised by the
to pay for travel by MPs, accounted for actual travel or journeys completed.