Legislators across party lines have supported the proposed pay hike saying the raise will help them connect with people better with improved infrastructure.
A joint committee of legislators in Maharashtra has recommended a 62 per cent increase in the salaries of Members of Legislative Assembly and Council. The Hindustan Times had reported this on Wednesday.
The committee said a legislator’s total monthly salary with perks should be raised from Rs 44,500 to Rs 71,500. The Bill to approve the hike will be placed in the Legislature’s winter session in Nagpur. The state has 289 MLAs and 78 MLCs.
“A legislator from a remote area has to spend a bomb to reach his constituency. Better infrastructure will definitely help an MLA to keep abreast with the latest developments and give his best to the constituency,” Congress legislator and spokesperson Sanjay Dutt said.
Dutt said the hike should be seen in the context of how it will improve services to the constituency.
Nationalist Congress Party spokesperson Madan Bafna agreed. “When you are a legislator, people expect from you. They come to you with hopes and you have to fulfil them,” he said. “A legislator does not even have a separate office or a vehicle. You will always find a legislator’s vehicle packed with people from his constituency while a bureaucrat travels in a dedicated vehicle with his aide, even to pick up his bag.”
The Opposition also said the hike was much needed. “The last time legislators got a hike was about four years ago and given the rising costs and we think this pay hike was necessary,” Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Eknath Khadse said.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena too has supported the pay hike but on the condition that legislators should deliver results.
“A salary hike should translate into work for the public and should lead to a better output,” MNS spokesperson Shirish Parker.
“A hike should be approved and legislators should deliver results.”
The Shiv Sena, meanwhile, said it has not given the issue a thought so far. “We will call a meeting of all our legislators to discuss the salary hike and then take a stand,” Sena legislator and party spokesperson Subhash Desai said.