The cash-starved Jammu and Kashmir on Monday effected nearly two-fold hike to the monthly salary of Chief Minister, Cabinet Ministers and legislators. It also doubled the monthly pension of former ministers and legislators.
The Chief Minister’s salary was raised from Rs 45,000 to Rs 90,000 per month while that of cabinet ministers hiked from Rs 40,000 to Rs 85,000 per month. The salary of Ministers of State, MLAs and MLCs was raised from Rs 40,300 to Rs 80,300 per month ministers. The salary of the Speaker will be Rs 90,000 per month.
The monthly pension of the former ministers and legislators was also raised from existing Rs 12,500 to Rs 25,000 including allowances.
The enhanced salary structure for the MLAs and others would be implemented retrospectively with effect from September 1, 2009.
Minister for Law and parliamentary affairs Ali Mohammad Sagar re-introduced the Bill, which was introduced in the Legislative Assembly on March 23 last year, to amend the laws governing the salaries and allowances of members, ministers and deputy ministers.
The Bill had proposed increasing emoluments of the Chief Minister from Rs 45,000 to Rs 70,000 per month, Cabinet Ministers from Rs 40,000 to Rs 65,000 per month and Ministers of State, MLAs and MLCs from Rs 40,000 to Rs 60,300 per month.
The Bill, which was listed in the Business couple of days back, was deferred due to absence of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather in the Assembly.
The legislators were pressing for increase in their salary upto Rs one lakh per month but the government decided to hike the salary and other allowances ‘over and above’ the proposed salary in the Bill by Rs 20,000.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said it was necessary to hike the salary of the legislators in view of the rising price index.
“We have to agree on a formula so that the salary of the legislators is hiked after a specific interval of period. This House should formulate a transparent formula and timeline to hike the salary of legislators. We could take the help of experts and I think five years period is enough to hike the salary of legislators,” Omar maintained.
Highlighting the financial implications, Chief Minister said the state’s salary and pension bills, which were Rs 3,590 crore in 2001-02, has expected to be Rs 14,739 crore in 2011-12. It was Rs 7896 crore (Rs 6,328 crore for salary and Rs 1568 crore for pension) during 2009-10.
Omar later wrote on twitter: “Now that we’ve voted a pay hike for ourselves in the assembly, I'm waiting for the brickbats.”
Earlier, the House proceedings were suspended for about half an hour to bring consensus among treasury benches and Opposition parties over the issue.