The Delhi Assembly Thursday approved a 400 per cent pay hike for MLAs and ministers, by passing the Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Government of NCT of Delhi (Salaries, Allowances, Pension) Amendment Bill 2015.
The Bill will now be sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for final approval.
The House accepted the recommendations made by an independent committee of three experts, constituted to look into the matter and compare the salary of MLAs from various states.
The monthly package of MLAs has been increased from Rs 88,000 to Rs 2.10 lakh per month, while their annual travelling allowance has been increased from Rs 50,000 to Rs 3 lakh per year. While the MLAs could earlier avail the allowance only for trips in India, now they can use it to travel abroad as well.
While introducing the Bill, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia enumerated the reasons behind the hike and claimed that it was needed to “serve the people”.
“…. Rather than MLAs or MPs deciding their own salaries, which has been the tradition so far, an independent committee has recommended this raise. Plus, every MLA needs money to serve the people. The recommendations are reasonable and scientific. We cannot deny the need for money when it comes to serving the people,” he said.
Joining the discussion, some AAP MLAs claimed that with their current salaries, they could not attend weddings as they didn’t have enough money to buy gifts. “This is an attempt to create an environment for the MLAs, in which they do not have to look for an alternative source of income to afford a cup of tea for a visitor,” said AAP MLA Praveen Kumar.
When BJP MLA and Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta sought a debate on the issue, Sisodia said that each legislator had an “individual choice” about whether to accept the revised salary.
As per provisions of the Bill, Delhi MLAs will get a basic salary of Rs 50,000, constituency allowance of Rs 50,000, conveyance allowance of Rs 30,000, communication allowance of up to Rs 10,000 and secretarial allowance of Rs 70,000. The basic salary of ministers has been increased from Rs 20,000 to Rs 80,000 and their constituency allowance has been increased from Rs 18,000 to Rs 50,000.
Apart from a few special allowances, the Assembly Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, the Chief Whip and Leader of Opposition would get salary and allowances at par with the ministers.