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Manmohan least paid among 22 govt heads

New Delhi: Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of the World’s second most populated country and the fourth largest economy in terms purchasing power parity, is the least paid among 22 government heads chosen by The Economist.

The renowned magazine in a report said Singh earns USD 4,106 (around Rs 2 lakh) a year, less than five times of the country’s GDP per person.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, whose earnings are 240 times greater than his country’s GDP per person tops the list. Odinga earns USD 430,000 a year.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who nets USD 2.2 million — 40 times the city-state’s average per capita GDP — a year comes second.

“Manmohan Singh, the prime minister of India, reaffirms his reputation for saintliness by taking a modest sum from Indian taxpayers,” says The Economist.

Singh’s austerity comes even as lawmakers, a crowd whose saintliness is not generally remarked upon, are bracing up to give themselves for a pay fillip.

A bill to raise the salary and allowances of parliamentarians tops the government’s agenda for the Monsoon Session that begins Monday, a news agency reported earlier this week.

The draft bill being prepared follows recommendations by a panel to raise the salaries of MPs to Rs 80,001 (USD 1,698) a month, from Rs 16,000, the report said.

Their daily allowance, when Parliament is in session, has also been proposed to be doubled from Rs 1,000. While the current salary looks low, Indian lawmakers do enjoy a large range of special benefits like housing in prime areas, cars and drivers, free air and rail travel (including for family members!), a telephone allowance, and a constituency spending allowance among others.

There were street protests in Kenya this month after lawmakers gave themselves a hefty pay rise making them among the best paid in the world. The proposed pay raise would see legislators there earning more than USD 175,000 per year, which would put them ahead of lawmakers in the US and the UK, the Voice of America reported.

But looking at Singh’s pay package, we hope Indians wouldn’t grudge him a little raise. We are sure Singh is also feeling the pinch of rising prices for food and fuel, just as we are, even if he isn’t singing ditties about it, a Wall Street Journal said in a report on the same.

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