Maharashtra: Lawmakers mess up their own salary, unlikely to get pay
Maharashtra’s lawmakers are unlikely to get their salary – which was held up ever since it was revised in August – before January next year, thanks to the mistakes that have creeped into the Bill.
The Maharashtra Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly Salaries and Allowances Bill, raising the salary of the lawmakers, was passed in the last day of the monsoon session. “While passing the Bill in a hurry, a few errors were left unattended which are are now causing obstructions in releasing their salary,” said a senior finance official, requesting anonymity. DNA has a copy of the Act.
Explaining one such error, the official said in the words ‘basic pay and dearness allowances and other allowances…’ – mentioned in all six chapters of the Act – ‘other allowances’ were wrongly included in some contexts and should have been deleted.
A senior official said that the government will now have to present the corrected Bill in the upcoming winter session in Nagpur, scheduled on December 5. “Other option is to issue an ordinance and subsequently approve the changes in the winter session. We have given our suggestions. Now, the chief minister has to take a call,” he said.
Kapil Patil, MLC, belonging to Lok Bharati, who had opposed the decision to hike the salary of the lawmakers, said they did not even get a copy of the Bill to read, the reason why the government is now in an embarrassing situation. “We fail to understand the need to pass this error-ridden Bill in such a hurry. We alone are responsible for this goof-up,” he said.
Patil pointed out that Maharashtra is already neck deep in debt. It has to pay back Rs 3.5 lakh-crore loans, for which the annual interest alone comes to almost Rs 28,000 crore. “The move to hike the salary of lawmakers will put an additional annual burden of Rs 60 crore over the cash-strapped state exchequer. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis should not amend this Bill again. It should be completely dropped. The lawmakers do not need to be paid this big a salary. They are there for serving the people and not to make money,” Patil said.
As per the revised pay structure, the ministers will draw a salary of Rs 1.92 lakh every month as against the earlier salary of Rs 57,000 while the MLAs and MLCs will earn Rs 1.68 lakh every month as against the previous Rs75,000. The ministers’ salary will be equivalent to the state chief secretary and that of MLAs/MLCs to that of principal secretaries.