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Maharashtra's ex-legislators the best paid in India, reply to PIL shows

mumbai Updated: Jan 20, 2015 18:55 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Maharashtra legislatures

The payment given to former legislators in Maharashtra both from the legislative assembly and council, is the highest in the country, the state government said, in an affidavit submitted to the Bombay high court last week.

The pension to the 1,500 for mer members of the assembly and council (Rs 40,000 each) costs the state Rs 100 crore.

The parliamentary affairs department submitted a detailed affidavit providing a comparison between the pension and remuneration of legislators across the country in response to a public interest litigation that came up for hearing in the high court last week.

According to the affidavit, there have been more than six hikes in the payment between 2005 and 2013, taking it to Rs 40,000 from Rs 6,000.

The legislators with more than one term get Rs 2,000 a year, which is multiplied by the number of years they served, apart from the basic pension amount.

More over, recently a group of MLCs had demanded their pension be hiked even further. According to sources, the for mer legislators have demanded another hike, as the last one was about one-anda-half year ago.

“They have demanded a hike, as every alternate year such a proposal gets passed in the budget session. This year, the government consent is unlikely in the wake of the drought-like situation in half of the state and the poor finances,” said an officer in the state legislature, on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

The affidavit states the pension paid in other states is less than Maharashtra.

Of the eight states quoted, Karnataka is Rs 25,000, followed by Assam (Rs 20,000), Himachal Pradesh (Rs 22,000), Tamil Nadu (Rs 12,000), Uttar Pradesh (Rs 10,000), etc. The accumulation per additional year of the first term, too, does not exceed Rs 1,000 in any other state.

The hike, in August 2013, was initiated after the ex-members association met the chairman and speaker of the legislature.

Sudhakar Gangane, head of the group, said, “I am not aware about the contention of the petition and hence cannot react on it. We have convened a meeting with chairman of the legislature on January 21 to discuss issues related to the pension.”

“I am not aware about any demand for hike in pension, but we have decided not to go for a hike this year as the state is facing a drought-like situation,” said Gangane.

Petitioner SM Deshmukh claimed the hike in the salary of the existing MLAs, their perks and perquisites, too, was unjust and exorbitant.