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Legislators say no to hike

According to them, legislators are representatives of people and they should work for their welfare.

Vidhan Bhavan-AV

At a time when the Maharashtra State Assembly gave its nod for hike in salaries of MLAs and MLC there were some legislators who have refused to accept the revised pay package. BJP MLC Ramnath Mote, independent legislator Bacchu Kadu, MLA Shrikant Deshpande, Legistator Kapil Patil have set examples by refusing to accept the revised salary structure. According to them, legislators are representatives of people and they should work for their welfare. Ramnath Mote who is the MLC of teachers constituency had written a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis about his decision to not accept the revised salary structure. Mote mentioned that he is reluctant to accept the new salary package as teachers have not received any increment since last few years. He also highlighted about the problems faced by teachers who have been working for 10 to 15 years with minimal remuneration.

On the other hand, political analysts are unhappy with the manner in which the bill approving the hefty salary hike has been cleared in assembly hastily. This move is expected to impose an annual burden of Rs. 60 crore on the cash-strapped exchequer, which has a debt burden of around Rs. 3.5 lakh crore. They also asked do legislators really deserve pay hike at a time when the state is reeling under debt burden?

Anil galgaliRTI activist Anil Galgali said, “How legislators who have differences over several issues unite when the issue of salary hike is concerned? This issue was passed unanimously without any opposition. Thus a question which arises here is whether legislators are representatives of people or public servants?”

“They compared their salaries with bureaucrats who draw more salary than them. This hike has come at a time when the common man is battling with rising inflation. This hike is more than 100 per cent. Lawmakers will receive the revised pay structure with immediate effect but government employees will have to wait for some more time,” he added.

Few days back, Maharashtra State Assembly had passed a Bill approving a hefty hike in the salaries of the ministers and legislators in the state. The Bill to increase salaries of MLAs and MLCs was adopted on the last day of the monsoon session of the state legislature. Legislators will now get salary and allowances equivalent to that of a principal secretary, a Vidhan Bhavan official said.

As a result, salaries of legislators would go up to around Rs 1.5 lakh per month. Former legislators will get a pension of Rs 50,000. Ministers of state and deputy presiding officers of legislature will get salary and allowances equivalent to that of an additional chief secretary. Cabinet ministers and presiding officers will get salary and allowances equivalent to that of the chief secretary. The salaries of ministers and members of the house have not been revised since 2010.

In 2010, the salary of legislators was raised from Rs 44,000 to Rs 75,000. For ministers, it was raised from Rs 29,000 to Rs 67,000. Apart from salaries, elected members and ministers are entitled to allowances including permissible railway travel which was raised from 30,000 km to 50,000 km in 2010.

The salary hike would benefit the total of 325 members (Assembly and Council), 39 ministers, two opposition leaders and four presiding officers.

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