by Alfie-Team Mangalorean
Mangaluru: As I was watching CNN-IBN/NDTV channels this morning, I was surprise to hear the news that the CM and legislators of Karnataka will be getting a hefty hike in their salaries. I thought to myself, hike for what? For napping during assembly! For watching porno/movie clips on mobiles during assembly! For taking unnecessary trips which are not essential! etc etc--other than looking after themselves or involving in corruption, has our leaders that we voted for have done anything good to their people. I don't think so-so why hike their salaries, which is sadly paid from our taxes. Bah humbug!
It is learnt that the 224 legislators of Karnataka have just given themselves a hefty, over 50% hike. The combined annual cost to the exchequer will be around 44 crore - up from Rs. 24 crore. The bill was passed by the Karnataka assembly as the entire house unanimously approved it, which also made Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, whose basic salary to go up from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 50,000. From now, the legislators will get Rs. 1,40,000 in place of Rs. 90,000 per month. For ex-MLAs allowance will go up from Rs. 25000 to Rs. 40000. The basic salary of the leader of the opposition will go up from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 40,000.
By passing this bill, there will be increase in salaries of all MLAs by nearly 100 per cent. The hike puts them in the bracket of some of the highest paid law makers in the country.The allowances of the CM and ministers have gone up from 1.5 lakh to 3 lakh Rupees per month. But the question each citizen will ask is that "Do they deserve the hike in salary, which is paid from our taxes?". Speaking to a reporter, State's former Lokayukta leader Santhosh Hegde had said, "This is totally a misuse of power. They (the legislators) are here to serve the people, not themselves." I fully agree with Hegde's comments.
According to a leading national newspaper, the exorbitant hike has been necessitated with the inclusion of some new categories of reimbursements. These include Rs 5,000 per night for each day of stay in a hotel with no fixed limits on the number of days as an allowance. In addition, they are also entitled for local transport of Rs 1,500 per day.The legislators only need to produce bills and make a claim. A minister of state gets Rs 35,000 as salary against Rs 16,000, while the sumptuary allowance has been hiked from Rs 80,000 to Rs 2 lakh. According to the report, the CM and his ministers get hikes in the amount they spend on house rent, maintenance and travel allowances. The cost to exchequer for the CM and his ministers will be Rs 3.5 crore per annum. All these bills were passed without any discussion.
The MLAs and MLCs have hiked their basic salary from Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000, telephone allowance from Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000, constituency allowance from Rs 15,000 to Rs 40,000, constituency travel allowance from Rs 25,000 to Rs 40,000, signifying a total increase of Rs 50,000 per month in the amount that they get directly. In reimbursements, they get Rs 25 per km as travel allowance, with a daily per Diem within the state of Rs 2,500. In addition to this, they get hotel stay and local travel expenses. The legislators have also made their future positions secure by giving themselves a pension of Rs 40,000 per month, against the existing pension of Rs 15,000. Salaries, allowances and reimbursements of the presiding officers of both Houses (speaker and chairman) are on par with the CM, while travel costs and hotel stay are along the lines of what is applicable to all legislators. The leaders of opposition have not been given any special position in this regard. The monthly pension of former legislators has also been hiked from Rs 25,000 to Rs 40,000 besides Rs 1,000 towards every year of additional service.
Earlier this month, Punjab legislators also gave themselves a huge hike - the biggest went to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, who, in place of Rs.50,000, will now be drawing Rs. 1 lakh a month. I guess our leaders will be living a luxurious life on someone else's hard earned money, I mean to say tax-payers money. Is this fair, I don't think so. But do these state legislators care, I don't think so, either.