Himachal legislators give themselves a fat pay hike

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Shimla, April 7 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh legislators on Thursday gave themselves a 61 percent – 100 percent pay hike, increasing a MLA’s monthly salary from Rs.90,000 to Rs.145,000.

The monthly salary of the chief minister goes up from Rs.95,000 to Rs.190,000 and that of a cabinet minister from Rs.80,000 to Rs.145,000.

Likewise, the salary of the speaker jumps from Rs.80,000 to Rs.175,000 and that of deputy speaker from Rs.75,000 to Rs.170,000.

The bill that the assembly passed on Thursday also increases MLAs’ allowances.

The new salaries – with hikes ranging from 61 percent to 100 percent – and allowances – would entail an additional expenditure of over Rs.16 crore per annum.

The limit for reimbursement of expenses incurred on account of free transit facility for the chief minister, his 12 cabinet colleagues and other lawmakers is to be increased from Rs.200,000 to Rs.250,000.

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The travelling advance of the chief minister and the cabinet ministers has been increased from Rs.10,000 to Rs.25,000 per month, while the daily allowance of a lawmaker has gone up from Rs.1,500 to Rs.1,800.

The constituency allowance of the members of the assembly goes up from Rs.60,000 to Rs.90,000 per month and office allowance from Rs.10,000 to Rs.30,000 per month.

Himachal Pradesh, whose economy largely banks on horticulture, tourism and hydropower, raised Rs.11,044.44 crore in three years and paid Rs.4,454.83 crore as interest on borrowings during the period, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh informed the assembly on April 1.

The state’s loan liability till February 29 this year includes Rs.7,162 crore from the open market and Rs.242.82 crore from the Centre, he told the house in a written reply.

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In his budget speech on March 8, the chief minister, who holds the finance portfolio, said that out of every Rs.100 spent, Rs.28.98 go towards salaries of government employees, Rs.12.89 for pensions, Rs.10.43 for interest payment, Rs.6.84 for loan repayment, and the remaining Rs.40.86 are spent on developmental works.

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