Himachal Legislators Vote Themselves a Hefty Pay Hike

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Himachal legislators, last week, passed a bill in the Vidhan Sabha that enhanced their salaries by a hefty 61%  to 100% increase which brought their monthly income from the state exchequer in the range of Rs 90,000 to Rs 145,000.

If the bill is approved by the Governor then under the new law, the chief minister’s monthly salary will double up to Rs. 190,000 from the Rs 95,000 that he was drawing earlier. The salary of ministers will increase to Rs 145,000 from Rs 80,000; that of the speaker increases from Rs 80,000 to Rs 175,000 and that of deputy speaker from Rs 75,000 to Rs 170,000.

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And that’s not all, the allowances of the legislators too have been revised. This proposed new hike in the salaries and the allowances for the lawmakers adds an annual expenditure of over Rs 16 crore in a revenue deficit state that is raising new loans to pay off old loans. The limit for reimbursement of expenses, with regards to free transit facility, has been increased from Rs. 200,000 to Rs.250,000, for the Chief Ministers and his Cabinet Ministers.

The traveling advance has been increased from Rs.10,000 to Rs.25,000 per month, while the daily allowance of a lawmaker has gone up from Rs.1,500 to Rs.1,800. Adding to this list of revisions, the constituency allowance of the members of the assembly goes up from Rs.60,000 to Rs.90,000 per month and office allowance from Rs.10,000 to Rs.30,000 per month.

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In the last three years Himachal Pradesh has raised Rs.11,044.44  crores as loans and has paid Rs 4,454.83 crore as interest on the accumulated loans raised.
The house last month passed a budget in which Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who is also the  finance minister, had listed out that 28.98 % of all budgeted expenditure was for salaries of government employees, 12.89% for pensions, 10.43% towards interest payment of accumulated loans raised earlier, 6.84% for loan repayment, and the remaining  40.86% is to be spent on developmental works.

Bon vivant, writer extraordinaire.

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