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Maha legislators demand pay hike panel set up to look into it

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Mumbai: Maharashtra legislators have demanded a pay hike to make it at par with that of the secretaries and additional chief secretaries, following which a committee has been formed to deliberate upon it.

Speaker Haribhau Bagde called a meeting to discuss the hike in salaries of legislators and their personal assistants at his office in Vidhan Bhavan last week where it was decided to increase the pay scale of PAs from Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000.

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Legislative Council Chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, Leader of Opposition in Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, LoP in Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde and state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Garish Bapat were present at the meeting, and they all will be part of the committee.

Mungantiwar said more than 150 MLAs had requested the Speaker to increase their salary so that they could “at least provide tea and lunch to party workers”.

“Since 2010, salaries of legislators have not been increased and thus their demand seems legitimate. However, the final decision over the issue will be taken by the committee,” he said.

Bapat said there is a huge difference in salaries of legislators as compared to that of secretaries and additional chief secretaries.

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“Legislators have to travel at least in three tehsils periodically as boundaries of their constituencies have been expanded. It is not possible to manage everything in a salary of a mere Rs 75,000,” he said.

Mungantiwar said ministers get a salary of around Rs 57,000 a month but receive other facilities like bungalows and miscellaneous allowance.

“However, that too is insufficient,” he said.

Vikhe Patil said even LoPs do not receive more than Rs 58,000 a month.

“Chief secretaries and additional chief secretaries get a salary of around Rs 1.90 to 2 lakh a month. Legislators have demanded they should get minimum of Rs 2 lakh,” a lawmaker said on condition of anonymity.

Mungantiwar said the committee will take a call within a week and the final decision of increase in renumeration will be taken before the end of the ongoing monsoon session of state Legislature.

Meanwhile, during the meeting, it was decided to provide a computer operator to every legislator.