M K Madhusoodan
Bengaluru- Do the Rajya Sabha members travel in trains they booked. No, they don’t. Most of them do not travel, but claims the amount for tickets booked.
It seems that was a trend in early days. But this was the habit most of Rajya Sabha members cultivated. “Book the tickets for themselves, their kith and kin, friends and their supporters had become a habit. The travelling expenses are often claimed but never travelled,” Said GR Shivashankar, who is the General Secretary, Trade Union Co-ordination Centre (TUCC). He had ear;ier exposed excess expenses incurred by newly elected Raya Sabha member Mallikarjuna Kharge, who was Labour Minister during Congress headed UPA government,”Mr Shivashankar, who exposed Rs 18 crore excess travelling expenses Mr. Kharge had incurred during a couple of foreign trips, he undertook along with a large contingent to attend global conferences relating to labour issues. But we are only examining a audit conducted on the instructions of Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President Mr. Vnkaiah Naifu. The assessment was conducted of Rajya Sabha Secretariat to to check members travelling expenses during 2019.
It is observed 15 per cent of Rs.7.8 crores in 2019 utilised for actual travelling by Railways by Rajya Sabha MPs, their spouses and attendants. The assessment, though not shocking as it is considered as a routine by Rajya Sabha MPs “unashamedly”. “A former MP booked 63 trips, nearly for bookings per day totalling 63 bookings for 23 days spending 1.69 lakh, it was found. This is what they used to do every year,” said an official.
The Rajya Sabha Secretariat soon after this exposure issued a strict warning to MPs stating that they will be made to pay for actual tickets booked, but not for those cacelled tickets and those tickets not used for travel.