In 5 minutes, Himachal Pradesh MLAs pass 4 bills to give themselves a fat pay hike
Shimla: Minutes before the month-long budget session was to end, the Himachal Pradesh legislators voted in four bills, in just five minutes, approving an almost 100 per cent hike in their salaries and perks. The House also raised the pension of ex-MLAs and limit of free travel.
There was no debate on the bills, with the opposition wholeheartedly backing the government move. The decision is expected to cost the state exchequer around Rs 16.45 crore annually.
The salaries and allowances of MLAs have been increased from Rs 1.32 lakh to Rs 2.10 lakh per month while the daily allowance has been raised from Rs 1500 to Rs 1800 and the limit of free travel by rail or air from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.50 lakh per annum.
The salary of MLAs has been enhanced from Rs 30,000 to Rs 55,000, Constituency allowance from Rs 30,000 to Rs 90,000, Office allowance from Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000 and computer data entry operator allowance from Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000.
The basic pension of former MLAs has also been increased from Rs 22,000 to Rs 36,000 while the increase in pension per year after completion of first term would be Rs 1000 in place of Rs 500 at present.
The salary of Chief Minister and Ministers would be increased from Rs 65,000 to Rs 95,000 and Rs 50,000 to Rs 80,000 per month and Sumptuary allowance from Rs 30,000 to Rs 95,000 for both CM and Ministers.
The salaries of Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers have also been increased proportionately but it would have no impact as there are no MoS or deputy ministers.
The salaries of Speaker and Deputy Speaker have been increased from Rs 50,000 and Rs 45,000 to Rs 80,000 and Rs 75,000 respectively and sumptuary allowance from Rs 30,000 to Rs 95,000.
The salaries of Chief Parliamentary secretary and Parliamentary secretary will also go up from Rs 40,000 and Rs 35,000 to Rs 65,000 and Rs 60,000 per month.
CM Virbhadra justifies mega pay hike
Justifying the bumper 100 per cent pay hike for Himachal Pradesh legislators, state Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said that the hike was 'required' as it was part of essential expenditure, adding that the increase in perks would help them to deal with the increasing inflation
"It's after a long time in Himachal Pradesh that the legislators have received a hike in salary. This is part of essential expenditure and it was required," Singh said.
The Chief Minister said that in states like Himachal Pradesh it was the need for legislators as for employees the 7th pay commission is on cards and that after 25 sittings the assembly session has been concluded today.