Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in the national Capital may soon have an office in their constituency provided by the Delhi government.
After a group of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs approached the Delhi government with a proposal to hike their salaries, speaker Ram Niwas Goel has written to them informing that the government has agreed to the concept of establishing offices in their assembly constituencies.
AAP MLAs had raised the demand claiming that their current salaries were insufficient to sustain their household and office expenses.
“The government has conveyed its in-principle agreement to the concept of establishing office of assembly constituency in each of the constituencies. This office should be approximately about 700-1,000 sqft in size and should be located at a convenient location, easily accessible to the public. Office infrastructure such as staff, furniture and equipment like computer, fax, etc., will be provided by the legislative assembly secretariat,” Goel said in his letter sent to all MLAs.
MLAs in Delhi are paid Rs 54,000 per month. In addition to this they are given Rs 30,000 for secretarial support, Rs 1,000 per day for every Vidhan Sabha sitting and reimbursement of water and electricity bill of up to Rs 4,000 per month.
“The salary we get right now is not enough to run an office. We are honest functionaries and this is all we are earning. It is difficult to get by on this amount,” an MLA said on condition of anonymity.
The speaker has asked the MLAs to identify suitable office space at any government office in their constituencies and informed him in a week so that the formal proposal may be submitted to the government.
“It has been further requested by the Delhi government that this office should not be located in hospitals, dispensaries or schools,” the letter reads.
The Delhi government, meanwhile, said any justified demand made by the MLAs would be looked into.
“If it is a justified demand, we will discuss it,” a government spokesperson said.
Earlier this week, a parliamentary panel had proposed a 100% hike in the salaries of Members of Parliament, a move that was criticised. The government later shot down the hike.