Acche Din, promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, may not be quite evident in other parts of the country, but with the Delhi Assembly on Thursday approving a bill proposing a 400 per cent hike in their salaries, ‘good days’ have certainly come for legislators in the AAP-ruled state.
Once approved by the Centre and the President, Delhi’s lawmakers will become the country’s highest paid, drawing a salary of Rs. 2.1 lakh plus various allowances – which is more than the salary of Prime Minister, who gets around Rs. 1.6 lakh, which includes a basic salary of Rs. 60,000 plus other allowances.
As per the provisions of the bill, the basic salaries of legislators will now rise from current Rs. 12,000 to Rs. 50,000 and their overall monthly package will be around Rs. 2.1 lakh as against existing Rs. 88,000.
Similarly, the basic salary of a minister will be Rs. 80,000 which is currently Rs. 20,000. If the Centre approves the Bill, then salaries of Delhi legislators will among the highest in the country.
Overall the hike proposed is two-and-a-half fold. “The bill proposes to increase the salaries, allowances and other facilities of the Members of the Legislative Assembly of Delhi so as to facilitate them to work effectively in their fields,” Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, presenting the bill in the assembly.
The Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Government of NCT of Delhi (Salaries, Allowances, Pension) Amendment Bill 2015 was drafted based on a report of a three-member committee chaired by former Secretary General of Lok Sabha PDT Achary.
“We have accepted all the recommendations of the panel,” Sisodia said. In July, a group of AAP legislators had demanded a significant hike in salary, arguing their earnings were not enough to run their family and offices.
Apart from basic salary, the bill proposes hiking constituency allowance from current Rs 18,000 to Rs 50,000, saying the current amount was “grossly” inadequate.
The bill also provides for a reimbursable sum of Rs 70,000 per month was also recommended as allowance under ‘Secretarial, Research and Office Assistance’ head which is Rs 30,000 at present. An ‘office rental and related utilities’ allowance of Rs 25,000 has been proposed for meeting expenditure on office space and other essential amenities provided by government agencies.
As per the bill, the legislators will be entitled to a communication allowance of Rs 10,000 per month as well as Rs 30,000 as monthly conveyance allowance for each MLA.
The ‘daily’ allowance of each MLA during every sitting of the House or its committees has been proposed to be hiked from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000.
However, the salary hike for a majority of Aam Aadmi Party lawmakers and ministers had flared a controversy when it was first proposed. Since it will benefit members of his Aam Aadmi Party most, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has faced a severe backlash on social media.
AAP had swept the Delhi elections in February this year, winning 67 of 70 seats. Party leaders say the lawmakers don’t earn enough to run their homes and offices.
The Congress which was no lawmakers in the Assembly and the BJP which holds three seats had opposed the hike.