Lawmakers in Telangana will now get a monthly package of Rs.2.50 lakh against the existing Rs.95,000 with the state assembly on Tuesday unanimously passing a bill hiking their pay and allowances.
Members of both the houses of state legislature will get a hike of 163 percent in the package which includes both the monthly pay and the allowances.
The monthly pay has been revised from Rs.12,000 to Rs.20,000 but the constituency allowance has witnessed a huge jump — Rs.2.30 lakh from the present Rs.83,000.
The Telangana Payment of Salaries and Pensions and Removal of Disqualifications (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed effecting the hike in the salaries of legislators, legislative councillors, chief minister, ministers, chief whip, whips and presiding officers of both the houses.
The hike for the chief minister and others ranged from 60 to 72 percent.
Legislative Affairs Minister Harish Rao tabled the bill, which was passed with a brief discussion which saw members cutting across party lines hailing it and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao justifying the hike.
The chief minister’s gross salary has gone up from Rs.2.44 lakh to Rs.4.21 lakh. The pay has been increased from Rs.16,000 to Rs.51,000 while the constituency allowance has gone up steeply to Rs.2.30 lakh from Rs.83,000.
Ministers, chief whip and whips will get a monthly package of Rs.4 lakh against the existing 2.42 lakh. Assembly and council chairman will now get Rs.4.11 lakh instead of Rs.2.42 lakh.
For the state legislators, this is said to be the highest monthly package in the country, overtaking Delhi where the Aam Aadmi Party government increased the package of the lawmakers to Rs.2.10 lakh last year.
Members from both the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hailed the hike.
The chief minister brushed aside the criticism over the hike and advised media not to project this as a loot of public money. “By doing this you are demeaning your own legislators,” he said.
The increase in salaries will put an additional burden of Rs.42.67 crore annually on the state exchequer.
The chief minister said this is not even a perceptible percentage of the state’s budget (Rs.1.30 lakh crore).
He justified the increase in salaries and allowances saying this was done keeping in view the requirements of the legislators, and was necessary to enable the lawmakers to play an active and positive role in the process of nation building and to remain free from corruption.
He pointed out that today’s economic dynamics are different from what it was after the country’s independence. “Today there is no need for anybody to make great sacrifices. This is not an era of sacrifices. We are all involved in the process of nation building,” he said.
Rao said the lawmakers serve on many committees at the district level, have to attend meetings and they have to bear the cost of travelling within the constituency and to the state capital.
“Every legislator will have several visitors every day. He has to arrange at least 50 cups of tea every day,” said the chief minister.