The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a bill to reduce the salaries of parliamentarians by 30% for one year to meet emergencies arising out of the coronavirus pandemic, PTI reported.

The Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday. It will replace the Salary, Allowances And Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020. The ordinance had been promulgated on April 6 and put into effect the next day.

On Tuesday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said in the Lok Sabha that funds were needed to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and “charity should begin from home”. He also said that since the economy has been affected by the coronavirus crisis, the government has taken an important decision to deal with the crisis.

But Opposition parties raised objection to the Centre’s decision to suspend the MP Local Area Development Scheme funds for two years, Mint reported. “The Central Vista project must be cancelled, and more ventilators must be brought for the common man in this nation,” Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule said. “Why is the government not reducing its expenditure to make sure that the costs come down?”

Several MPs feel that the suspension of MPLAD funds could mean less money for groundwork in their constituencies. “Its suspension disempowers MPs and the union government should seriously reconsider it,” Biju Janata Dal MP Pinaki Mishra said.

Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury called for a unanimous resolution to restore the fund.

But Joshi said the suspension of MPLAD funds was only temporary. “Whatever decision we have taken on MPLADS is temporary and only for two years,” he said.

India’s coronavirus count rose to 50,20,359 on Wednesday with 90,123 new cases in a day. The toll jumped by 1,290 to 82,066. As many as 39,42,360 people have recovered from the infection, taking the recovery rate to 78.53%. The mortality rate, meanwhile, is 1.63%.