West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday announced a big hike in the salaries of cabinet ministers, ministers of state and legislators with the monthly salary being raised by ₹40,000 a month for each of these three categories.
Following this hike, the legislators will now be entitled to a monthly salary of ₹50,000 a month, as against the existing amount of ₹10,000. The monthly salaries of the ministers of the state have been increased from ₹10,900 to ₹50,900. In case of cabinet ministers, the amount has been increased from ₹11,000 to ₹51,000.
The other additional perks and allowances that cabinet ministers, ministers of state and legislators are entitled to in addition to monthly salaries will remain the same.
This will ideally mean that with the actual monthly payment received by the legislators including the salaries, allowances and perks will now increase to ₹1.21 lakh from the current rate of ₹81,000 a month, explained an officer of the state government.
Similarly, the actual monthly payment received by ministers from now onwards will be increased from ₹1.10 lakh a month to around ₹1.50 lakh per month.
Reason behind the big hike:
Announcing the enhanced pay at the state Assembly on Thursday after, the chief minister said that the decision to hike the salaries had been taken in view of the fact that the salaries of the legislators in West Bengal had been much lower compared to their counterparts in other Indian states.
"I don't take anything as a Chief Minister nor did I take any pension for being a former MP. So my pay structure remains unchanged," said Mamata.
Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs will not accept the changed structure.
"Mamata Banerjee cannot pay DA activists and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) staff. Instead she is announcing a hike in MLAs salary. When she had announced BJP MLAs were not there in the House," said Adhikari
Political observers feel that these enhanced salaries for the minister and MLAs are bound to agitate further the state government employees, who have been long demanding enhanced dearness allowances to be made at par with Central government employees and the arrears accrued on it.
(With inputs from IANS)