The Ministers and Ministers of State in Bihar are set to burden the tax-payer by an additional Rs 2.94 crore in 2010-11, a 38.55 per cent rise over the revised estimates for the preceding year (2009-10).
The Cabinet Secretariat Department’s budget allocation for the current year shows the Ministers’ salaries and allowances will cost the exchequer Rs 10.57 crore, as compared to Rs 7.63 crore in 2009-10.
Even Deputy Chief Minister-cum-Finance Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, usually well versed with all matters financial, confessed he had no clue about the projected sharp rise in Ministers’ pay-and-perks burden.
“I am not aware of any move to give a salary hike to Ministers. So, I am unable to say where the additional financial burden on Ministers’ salaries and allowances is coming from”, he told HT.
If Modi was unaware of the exact reason why the Ministers’ overall salary and allowances Bill was slated for such a sharp upswing in the current year, it is because there is a catch to the hike.
Enquiries revealed the Ministers’ salary Bill was poised for such a sharp hike not so much due to a jump in their personal pay, as owing to a salary hike the members of their personal staff were set to receive in 2010-11.
“Each Minister has 10-odd personnel on his or her personal staff. Their pay is being revised as per 6th Pay Commission recommendations and there are big attending arrears”, Cabinet Secretary Afzal Amanullah told HT.
Interestingly, there is no reference to members of staff in the department’s 2010-11 budget demand (now allocation), under Head – 2013 Council of Ministers and sub-head – 0001 Ministers and 0002 Ministers of State.
It shows the Ministers’ cumulative ‘salary’ burden is poised to go up from 2.88 crore in 2009-10 to 4.83 crore in 2010-11, a hike of 67.70 per cent. Similarly, the ‘salary’ burden of Ministers of State is to rise from 65.62 lakh in 2009-10 to 1.11 crore, a 69.29 per cent increase.
The burden of Ministers’ cumulative ‘house rent allowance’ is set to triple, from 12.34 lakh in 2009-10 to Rs 39.97 lakh in 2010-11. The corresponding figures for MoS are Rs 3.02 lakh (2009-10) and Rs 9.65 lakh (2010-11).
The Ministers’ ‘Medical Reimbursement’ value is to double, from Rs 10 lakh in 2009-10 to Rs 20 lakh in 2010-11. Their ‘other allowances’ will, however, decline from Rs 1.45 crore to an estimated Rs 95.31 lakh.