Sunday, August 06, 2017

An MP’s phone bill Rs 8.9k a month, reveals RTI reply

Times of India: Bhopal: Sunday, August 06, 2017.
An RTI by an MP-based activist has revealed that Rs 8,900 a month is spent on each MP's telephone bill, prompting him to ask why the government is persisting with this "unnecessary expense" when call tariffs have dropped so low that the netas could make do with a Rs 1,500-a-month package.
Replying to an RTI query by Satna-based activist Rajeev Khare, the Lok Sabha secretariat has said that Rs 8,47,01367 was spent in 2015-16 to foot the telephone and internet bills of the 790 Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs. The next year, it dropped to 8,28,38005. This comes to Rs 16,75,39372 in two years, or Rs 69.8 lakh a month. This means, each MP was given Rs 8,900 on average each month for communication expenses.
Khare had also filed an RTI application with the Telecom Regulatory Authority Of India for information on monthly plans offered by service providers for 'unlimited calls and internet'. TRAI provided plan details of almost all the service providers, including BSNL.
"As per the reply, BSNL's unlimited call and data plans start as low as Rs 339 for 29 days. Even if three such phones are provided to each representative, then the maximum monthly bill would not be above Rs 1,500. This will bring down the communication expenditure to around Rs 1.4 crore a year from Rs 8 crore and save public money," Khare told TOI. "This (high telephone expense) is a waste of public money. I urge the government to look into the issue. I am also going to write to the Prime Minister on this," he added.