Wednesday, October 7, 2015

New Delhi: Salary and allowances of Delhi MLAs may see a whopping two-and-half fold hike from current Rs 88,000 per month to Rs 2.10 lakh if recommendations of an expert panel are accepted by the government.

An experts' panel has recommended a 400 percent hike in the basic salary of the Delhi MLAs. PTI

The three-member committee chaired by former Secretary General of Lok Sabha PDT Achary, in its report submitted to Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel, has favoured a 400 percent hike in basic salary of MLAs from Rs 12,000 to Rs 50,000 per month.

Overall, the hike recommended has been 138 percent.

In July, a group of AAP legislatiors had demanded a significant hike in salary, arguing their earnings were not enough to run their family and offices.

"The committee has recommended to increase the existing salary of MLAs from Rs 12,000 per month to Rs 50,000 per month. Also, total salary and allowances of MLAs have been recommended to be enhanced from the present Rs 88,000 per month to Rs 2.10 lakh per month," Achary told reporters.

The recommendations were made considering Constitutional provisions and their job profile, he said.

Apart from basic salary, the committee has recommended hiking constituency allowance from current Rs 18,000 to Rs 50,000, saying the current amount was "grossly" inadequate.

A reimbursible sum of Rs 70,000 per month has also been 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 recommended for meeting expenditure on office space and other essential amenities provided by government agencies.

The committee has also suggested 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 recommended to be hiked from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000.

The one-time allowances of MLAs have also been recommended to be increased significantly with one time 'office furnishing' allowance of Rs 1 lakh, Rs 60,000 for purchasing office equipment and a vehicle loan of Rs 12 lakh, which is Rs 4 lakh at present.

The lawmakers' salary was last increased by 100 percent in September 2011 by the then Sheila Dikshit government, citing inflation and the rise in the cost of living cost.

The committee has also recommended a hike in monthly pension from the existing Rs 7,500 to Rs 15,000 per month for first term of membership and an additional pension of Rs 1,000 per month for every successive year of membership beyond the first term, Achary said.

The family pension has been recommended at 50 percent of the pension being paid to a deceased member or an ex-member, he said.

The committee's recommendations also include a maximum reimbursable travel allowance fo Rs 3 lakh per annum for each MLA and his dependents by air, rail, road or steamer.

In an important recommendation, it also favoured a 10 per cent raise in the basic salary, Rs 5,000 per month, after every 12 months, from the date on which new salary and allowances come into force.

The committee of experts finalised its 21-page "unanimous report" over five lengthy sittings. The committee, including non-official members KV Prasad and Balraj Malik, went through pay and allowances structures of many state assemblies as well as those of the US Congress, UK, Australia and many other Commonwealth nations, member secretary of the committee Prasanna Kumar said.

The guiding principle for the committee was to take a constructive, logical and scientific path and recommend measures that will help build the 'office' of a legislator, an institutional concept not formally approached so far in the country, he said.

With the proposed hike in salary, the committee felt that there is no need for additional provision to meet the expenses incurred by MLAs on domestic consumption of power and water. Also, it said there is no need to provide MLAs with either rent-free official accommodation or house rent allowance, which is a standard practice in every legislature in the country, he said.

The report of the committee handed over to the Speaker will now by put before the Assembly's Committee of Salary and Allowances for consideration. Thereafter the government will consider it and, if accepted, come up with a Bill, he added.



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