An experts panel looking into legislators’ salaries on Tuesday recommended a Delhi MLA’s monthly package be more than doubled to Rs 210,000 from Rs 88,000, which could make them the highest paid legislators in the country.
If the recommendations submitted to the Delhi speaker are accepted, the basic salary of Delhi MLAs will increase four-fold to Rs 50,000 a month, putting them on a par with the pay of MPs. The proposed basic salary is also one of the highest for MLAs in India; Assam legislators get the highest basic salary at Rs 60,000 a month.
Their overall package could top that of members of Parliament at Rs 145,000 a month and Himachal Pradesh, which currently has the highest paid state legislators at Rs 125,000 a month.
The committee has also recommended a doubling of the daily allowance to Rs 2,000 and other one-time allowances under different heads. The daily allowance is the additional money an elected representative gets for attending sessions of the legislative body or a meeting of its panels.
If a legislator hires a private space for an office, the MLA would be eligible for an additional Rs 25,000 in lieu of office rent.
Assembly secretary Prassana Kumar, a member of the committee, said the report would be sent to the Delhi government by the speaker after the salary and allowances committee of the sssembly takes a view on the recommendations.
“The government will take a reasoned decision after going through each recommendation,” said a government spokesperson.
While the committee members argued “they have recommended a reasonable revision following the best international practices”, leader of opposition Vijendra Gupta and Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken criticised the AAP government for the proposals.
Gupta dubbed the ruling party the “Khas Aadmi Party” while Maken alleged “the state government is misusing public funds for giving extra perks and position to its legislators”.
In August, the salary and allowance committee led by Karol Bagh MLA Vishesh Ravi had urged speaker Ram Niwas Goel to form an independent panel after several AAP legislators demanded a salary revision. The AAP MLAs argued that many of them had entered politics after quitting alternative careers while several others came from humble backgrounds, and it was difficult to meet the expenses with the existing emoluments.
The Delhi assembly came into existence in 1993. The salary and allowance of legislators has been revised four times, with the last revision enacted in 2010-11 when an MLA’s salary was revised from Rs 6,000 to Rs 12,000.