Kerala govt appoints panel to revise salaries of ministers, MLAs

Updated on Jul 27, 2022 04:52 PM IST

The last raise in remuneration of legislators, ministers and other representatives in Kerala was done in 2018

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. (PTI File Photo)
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. (PTI File Photo)

A day after the Chhattisgarh government passed bills to hike remuneration for legislators, the Kerala government on Wednesday decided to appoint a one-man commission to review salaries and perks of people’s representatives, a senior government official said.

The government appointed a commission under retired justice Ramachandran and a report has been sought in six months, he said. The last raise in remuneration of legislators, ministers and other representatives in Kerala was done in 2018.

Many ministers pointed out during a cabinet meeting that the salaries of government employees and others were hiked substantially and they also needed a raise to meet the cost of living.

In 2018, monthly salaries of the ministers were increased from 55,000 to 80,000, and that of legislators from 40,000 to 70,000. Besides this, travel allowances of ministers were raised from 10 to 15 per km.

Also Read:Chhattisgarh assembly clears bills to hike salaries of CM, ministers, LoP

Many states, including Karnataka and Delhi, recently revised salaries of ministers and legislators. In the first week of July, the Delhi assembly passed a bill allowing a 66 per cent hike in salaries and allowances of its members, the first raise in 11 years.

Meanwhile, social activists in Kerala criticised the move at a time when the state is allegedly undergoing a severe economic crisis. “The government tells everyone to cut down expenditures, but it is spending money ostentatiously. We heard that official vehicles of many ministers will be replaced,” said activist Dijo C Kappan. The state’s cumulative debt crossed 3.32 crore in March and its debt to GSDP (gross state domestic product) ratio witnessed an abnormal increase in the last two years.

Kerala finance minister KN Balagopal sent a letter to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitaraman two days ago, requesting her to not consider liabilities of state entities while determining the net borrowing capacity of the state.

He claimed that combining the debt of statutory bodies and companies with that of the state government was contrary to the provisions of the Constitution, will imperil the borrowing powers of the state and jeopardise its developmental plans.

Balagopal said that the state’s annual revenue was dropped by 23,000 crore due to various measures taken by the central government. Recently, the Centre slashed 14,000 crore of off-budget borrowing in the net borrowing ceiling of the state, citing loans availed by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board and the Kerala Social Security Pension Limited.

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