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Delhi MLAs close to 2nd govt pension

Like their peers in Kerala and Rajasthan, Delhi’s MLAs, would soon be eligible to draw two government pensions, reports Anuradha Mukherjee.
Hindustan Times | By Anuradha Mukherjee, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 24, 2009 12:42 AM IST

Like their peers in Kerala and Rajasthan, Delhi’s MLAs (members of the legislative assembly), would soon be eligible to draw two government pensions.

Under existing rules, an MLA in Delhi, who retired from a government job, is not entitled to the MLA pension.

The Bill to entitle Delhi MLAs to two government pensions is likely to be tabled in the Delhi Assembly tomorrow.

“A number of legislators were government employees prior to joining politics and draw pension for those jobs. When they retire as legislators, they are not eligible for pension meant for MLAs,” said a government source.

At present, a Delhi MLA who goes on to become a Member of Parliament can draw a pension for his former job as well as an MP’s salary. But on retiring as an MP, he has to choose between the two pensions.

MLA pension in Delhi is very nominal — starting at Rs 1,000 with a cap of Rs 10,000.

Many sitting MLAs in the Capital are former government employees — mostly from the department of education.

Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia was a Political Science teacher in Delhi University’s Lakshmi Bai College, while Speaker Yoganand Shastri taught History at Shaheed Bhagat Singh College.

“Shastri took voluntary retirement five years ago and continues to draw his pension, which he is eligible for. If this Bill is passed, he would also become eligible for the pension meant for former MLAs once he retires,” said an official associated with Shastri.

Bharatiya Janata Party veterans Vijay Kumar Malhotra and Jagdish Mukhi are also former college teachers. “I retired as a reader in Hindi from PGDAV College and do draw the pension for that job. I don’t draw any pension for my MP’s job. This Bill, if passed in Delhi Assembly, will enable MLAs to draw on two pensions only if they retire fully from politics,” said Malhotra, leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly.

The Bill had been in the works for almost two years and was recently cleared by the Centre.

“It has been circulated for discussion among MLAs and is likely to get a go ahead,” said a government official.

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