Cabinet Approves Anti-Human Trafficking Bill, Hike in MPs’ Salary
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the anti-human trafficking bill and a hike in the salaries of MPs.
A series of measures received a nod from the Union Cabinet on Wednesday, 28 February. Foremost among these was the Cabinet’s approval of a proposal regarding human trafficking and a significant hike in the allowances of the Members of Parliament.
The Cabinet approved the draft Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill that also includes the proposition for life imprisonment in terms of repeat offenders.
According to PTI, an official source mentioned that following the Cabinet’s nod, the National Investigating Agency (NIA) is to be the main investigating authority in cases involving human trafficking.
Along with this, several officials at the Ministry of Women and Child Development also told the news agency that the NIA would be receiving fund assistance under the Nirbhaya Fund for safety of women, so that they can set up a cell for investigating human trafficking.
The PTI report adds that the draft bill states that the NIA should compartmentalise the offences relating to human trafficking as “trafficking” and “aggravated trafficking”.
According to the report, the punishment meted out in terms of the offences that come under “trafficking”, will include a jail term of anywhere between seven to ten years, while those falling under “aggravated trafficking” would include a ten-year jail sentence at the very least, which could also be extended into a life-sentence.
Those involved in abetting, promoting or assisting human trafficking will also be penalised with a three-year jail sentence.
A national anti-trafficking relief and rehabilitation committee, led by the Secretary of the Women and Child Development Ministry and a rehabilitation fund as well as a process for the repatriation of victims to human trafficking, has also been proposed by the new law, the report adds.
Cabinet Nod to Hike in MP Allowances
The Union Cabinet also approved of a proposal to increase the salaries of the Members of Parliament, which would include their constituency allowance, furniture allowance and communication expenses.
According to PTI, the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry had earlier suggested an increase in the constituency allowance of the Members of Parliament from Rs 45,000 a month to Rs 60,000.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had also sought a change in the law that would determine a salary hike for the Members of Parliament, something that he had mentioned in the Union Budget of 2018, which he had introduced earlier in February.
The present practice allows the recipients (MPs) to fix their own emoluments which invites criticism. I am, therefore, proposing necessary changes to refix the salary, constituency allowance, other expenses payable to Members of Parliament with effect from 1 April 2018.Arun Jaitley, as reported by NDTV
“The law will provide automatic adjustment of emoluments every five years based on inflation,” he added, reported NDTV.
Keeping in line with this, the ministry has propositioned that the one-time furniture allowance of the Members of Parliament be increased from Rs 75,000 to Rs one lakh.
(With inputs from PTI and NDTV)
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