India's Head of State is going to get his, or her, first salary hike in a decade.
The government has firmed up the proposal to double the emoluments of the President and two other constitutional entities, the Vice-President and governors, before the year-end.
According to this proposal, the President will be entitled to a monthly salary of Rs 1 lakh. In absolute terms, however, this will be the highest hike that holders of India's highest constitutional office will receive. It took nearly five decades to raise the President's salary from Rs 10,000 in 1951 to Rs 50,000 in 1998.
The Union Cabinet will take a call on the proposal on Thursday, less than a month before elected representatives in Parliament and state assemblies decide on the next incumbent at the presidential palace.
President APJ Abdul Kalam's tenure ends on July 24 and his successor will be sworn-in the next day. A simultaneous move to rationalise the emoluments of former presidents will ensure that Kalam — like R Venkataraman, the only living former president — will be entitled to hire five staff members to assist him after demitting office. The government is likely to agree to pay the staff members a salary of Rs 12,000 each.
The emoluments of the Vice-President — Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, who is in the presidential race — are likely to go up from Rs 40,000 to Rs 85,000. Similarly, governors could get a salary of Rs 75,000, up from the Rs 36,000 they take home for holding the gubernatorial office.