Maharashtra: State cabinet rejects proposal hike in MLA pension

Mumbai: The state cabinet on Tuesday rejected the proposal to hike the pension of sitting and former legislators from Rs 40,000 per month to Rs 50,000 on the ground of stressed financial situation of the state. If the proposal is approved, the state would have to take burden of more than Rs 7 crore per year.

However, the state cabinet, chaired by the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, has given approval to hike in travel allowances from Rs 6 per kilometer to Rs 20 per km. The financial bill to hike the travel allowance of legislators, including leader of opposition in both the Houses, speaker of Assembly as well as chairman and deputy chairman of Council House has been approved by the Assembly and Council House on August 5, 2016.

However, the bill did not have rules and regulations stated in it. Hence, in the cabinet meeting held on January 19, 2017 the decision was taken to hike the allowance from Rs 6 to Rs 20. The recommendations on the hike in travel allowance was suggested by the committee of ministers, headed by Sudhir Mungantiwar, minister for finance and planning.  Ramdas Kadam, minister for environment and Girish Bapat, minister for food and civil supply were the members of the committee.

An official from chief minister’s office (CMO) said that the Cabinet has approved to hike in travel allowance as well as hike in attendance allowance from Rs 1,000 per day to Rs 2,000 per day of the legislators for attending sessions held at Mumbai and Nagpur.

The official said, “Former and sitting legislators have demanded the increase in pension amount from existing Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 per month.  The cabinet had instructed the finance department (FD) to bring the detailed proposal. The FD remarked there will be burden of Rs 7,80,00,000 over the state exchequer.”

He further said, “The state has taken decision of loan waiver and the state has burden of Rs 34,022 core for the same. Also in lieu of abolition of Local Body Tax and octroi, the state has to compensate of Rs 13,000 crore to the local authorities. Due to this state is not in position to take responsibility of new liabilities. FD has also directed all departments not to announce any new scheme.”  “Considering these remarks from the FD, the state cabinet disapproved the pension proposal,” the official said.

“In upcoming winter session scheduled from December 11 at Nagpur, the state government will bring the amendment bill of Maharashtra Legislative Members Salaries and Allowance Act to get the benefit of hike in TA and attendance allowance,” the official said.

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