Everybody loves a good pay rise, so much so that the Madhya Pradesh assembly unanimously passed 3 bills to scale up the salaries of legislators, chief minister, assembly speaker, deputy speaker and leader of Opposition -- in flat five minutes.
Showing expected unity with the ruling party, none of the Opposition MLAs raised their voice against proposed hikes. No voice of dissent or demand for discussion on the bills.
The hike has been criticised as it comes at a time when the state is facing an unprecedented agrarian crisis and suicide of farmers hit hard by drought and unseasonal hailstorms.
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan too had turned down the demand for increasing salaries of legislators during the previous state cabinet meet citing drought and farmers sufferings. However, in a U-turn on Wednesday, the state cabinet approved the salary hike proposal.
After the hike, the chief minister’s salary will be around Rs 2 lakh per month, which is 40% more that the previous Rs 1.43 lakh. Salary of the MLAs increased from previous Rs 71,000 to nearly Rs 1.10 lakh per month, which is an increase of around 55%.
The speaker will now get Rs 1.85 lakh, a raise from the previous Rs 1.20 lakh. Ministers, deputy speaker and leader Opposition will draw Rs 1.70 lakh per month in place of Rs 1.20 lakh.
Legislators from Telangana became the country’s highest-paid state lawmakers on Tuesday after the assembly approved a bill that hiked their gross monthly salary by 163% to Rs 2.5 lakh. In December 2015, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi hiked MLAs’ salary by 400% to Rs 2.1 lakh.
West Bengal legislators are the poorest, with MLAs drawing a little more than Rs 40,000 per month against salary and allowances.
The House also passed amendment in the MP Municipal Corporations Act to increase the stamp duty from 1% to 2% amid some protest from the Congress. MLAs Govind Singh and Ram Niwas Rawat said the increase in the stamp duty would make construction of houses costlier for the lower and middle classes, already burdened by the hike in other taxes.