Delhi Assembly on Wednesday clarified that the widely publicised perception about the recommendations on the salary hike of Delhi MLAs were ‘misleading and misplaced.’
In a statement, Prasanna Kumar Suryadevara,Member-Secretary, Committee of Experts and Secretary, Delhi Assembly said the committee’s recommendations were yet to be approved by the various committees and the elected government.
He said that the Committee of Experts was ‘happy to note that its report submitted to Hon’ble Speaker Shri Ram Niwas Goel yesterday regarding proposed revision of salary and allowances of Members of the Legislative Assembly, Delhi generated a healthy debate.’
He added, “The Committee consciously took a decision to arrive at its recommendations purely in the context of Delhi in absolute terms and desisted from making any comparisons either with the national Parliament or any of the State Legislatures while making its recommendations. Yet, some of the reports in media sought to compare our recommendations with salary and allowances that are prevalent in Parliament and different State Legislatures. Hence, this effort to highlight the following points to clear the confusion that has set into the debate.”
Suryadevara said that Delhi Assembly was the only legislative body in the country ‘where Members are not entitled for any official rent free accommodation or any House Rent Allowance.’
According to him the Committee decided not to alter the status-quo.
“Had we gone purely by comparison we could not have resisted the temptation to propose some benefit on this account as well. But we stuck to the decision to purely go by the context of Delhi,” he said.
Drawing a parallel with Assam, he said that since 2014, the basic salary of MLAs the north-eastern state had been Rs 60,000/- per month.
“Therefore, we were a bit surprised to see reports about ‘Delhi MLAs set to get the highest salary in India’, since our recommendation is to raise the salary of Delhi MLAs to only Rs 50,000 per month.”
“The constituency allowance already being paid to MLAs in Goa at present is Rs 90,000 – despite the fact that it is an Assembly smaller in terms of membership as well as population represented per MLA than Delhi. Our recommendation for constituency allowance is Rs 50,000/- only.”
Suryadevara also claimed that Delhi was the only State where MLAs did not receive any housing loan, ‘leave alone @ 4% interest, which some states have been offering for very long time.’
“The Committee decided not to recommend housing loan benefit for MLAs in Delhi,” the statement said.
On annual travel allowance of Rs.3,00,000/- for MLAs, Suryadevara said that it was already being paid in a few states on much liberal terms with few additional travel benefits such as free travel in State Transport Service vehicles and free railway passes.
“We chose not to follow those liberal terms. Likewise, there are many other heads which we have decided not to adopt into salary structure of MLAs in Delhi.”