Shimla: With opposition congress members seeking a further hike in the proposed increase in pension for former legislators, the Himachal Vidhan Sabha on the last day of the monsoon session unanimously passed the HP Legislative Assembly (Allowances and Pension of Members) Amendment Bill.
Participating in the brief discussion, Sukhwinder Sukku and Sujan Singh Pathania both congress said that the provision of enhancing the pension from Rs 10,000 to Rs 14,000/- per month for ex-members was not sufficient as the cost of living had gone up substantially.
Pathania, while making a mention of the recent increase in salary and perks for parliamentarians said that when the pension bill for ex-MLAs in Himachal was moved in 1971 the amount was fixed at Rs 300 per month. At that point of time gold was priced at Rs 297 per ten gram whereas today the same quantity of gold had a price of Rs 19,000 plus, he said.
Sukku counted four former MLA’s, including Harbajan Singh Bhajji and Naveen Dhiman who after paying their monthly installments for loans obtained from the Vidhan Sabha were only left with a pension of Rs 6,000/- per month, which was insufficient to meet expenses.
Declining the oppositions demand, the chief minister said the amendment was only being brought to overcome a discriminatory clause and present conditions only permitted a thus much hike. After adding the dearness allowance permissible, the total pension amount would make up for the amount of hike being sought, he said.