It refers to Punjab government following Haryana government by deciding to pay Income Tax for salaries of its ministers and MLAs. It may be that some other states may also be doing so. It is definitely a wrong practice where all other sections of the society including government employees and Parliamentarians have to pay Income Tax from their respective earnings including salaries received from public-exchequers. It may be argued that Haryana government might have been doing so because salaries of Haryana MLAs were about half (Rs 40000) of the salaries received by Punjab MLAs (Rs 84000). Now decision of the Punjab government to pay Income Tax on salaries of the MLAs can make Haryana government revise salaries of its MLAs. Centre should ask state-governments for not allowing wrong practice of Income Tax on salaries of MLAs and ministers being paid from state-exchequers.
All such disparity in pay, perks, pensions and post-retirement benefits to MLAs and ministers in states are due to federal structure of the Constitution. Central government should coordinate with all state governments to reach on a consensus for providing pay, perks, pensions and facilities including post-retirement ones for all MLAs, Ministers and Chief Ministers, like all decisions on GST are taken by consensus between all states and the Centre. It is wrong that several Chief Ministers get legislated and construct post-retirement palatial bungalows for their post-retirement full-time life. Salaries and other benefits of MLAs, Ministers and Chief Ministers must be linked with salaries of bureaucrats to be revised as per recommendations of Pay Commission.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)