After a round of discussions which included fights, sloganeering, walk out and a number of the disruptions on several issues, Himachal Pradesh Assembly session approved 100% hike in the salaries of the MLAs, that too without any opposition for the same. This came as the month long budget session came to an end, the legislators of Himachal Pradesh voted for four bills and in just five minutes came the decision of approval of the salary hike. Besides this, they also approved of raising the pension of the ex-MLAs and limit of free travel.
The benefits also apply to the Chief Ministers, the ministers of the state, the speaker, the deputy speaker and also the chief parliamentary secretaries as well. The salaries and allowance of the MLAs have been increased from Rs. 1.32 lakh to Rs. 2.10 lakh per month. The daily allowance has been increased from Rs. 1500 to Rs 1800 and the limit of free travel has also been increased from Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 2.5 lakh per annum. The salary of the MLAs has been enhanced from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 55,000, constituency allowance from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 90,000, office allowance from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 30,000 and computer data entry operator allowance from Rs. 12,000 to Rs. 15,000.
For former MLAs, the basic pension has been increased from Rs. 22,000 to Rs. 36,000 while the hike in pension year after year after completion of the first term would be from Rs. 1000 instead of the current Rs. 500.
The Chief Minister’s salary has been increased from Rs. 65,000 to Rs. 95,000 and that of his cabinet has been increased from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 80,000.
The bill was introduced by Virbhadra Singh, who is the Chief Minister and also holds the finance portfolio. These bills were taken up for voting. The atmosphere was very cordial in the House. There seemed to be no debate on the bill. And, the opposition also favoured the move made by the government. The decision is expected to cost them Rs. 16.45 crore annually.
After the hike, the MLAs were seen greeting each other, and a lot of them rushed to the CM to thank him for this move.
The salary hike system is taking rounds across all states in India, first AAP government approved a 400 percent salary hike for legislators in December last year, then Telangana MLAs approved three-fold hike in salary.