Kerala legislators may get pay hike, yet most not happy

July 18th, 2008 - 6:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, July 18 (IANS) Several Kerala legislators’ complaint that they are poorly paid is about to be addressed, but that still does not make them happy as they feel the proposed hike would not bring them at par with lawmakers from other states. The new salary is likely see a hike of about Rs.5,200 per month.

Currently a legislator - who is not a minister - gets Rs.15,300 every month while his counterpart in Punjab gets Rs.54,500, in Delhi lawmakers get Rs.50,000 per month and in Andhra Pradesh the lawmaker’s monthly salary is Rs.46,000, a lawmaker said.

Last year this issue was raised but it did not get the government’s nod. Now, The Payment of Salaries and Allowances (Amendment) Bill, 2008, would come up before the assembly early next week. It was referred to the subject committee of the house Friday.

This revision of pay is expected to take place immediately. The last raise took place five years back.

The break-up of the Kerala legislator’s current pay packet is: Rs.300 as fixed allowance, Rs.3,500 as constituency allowance, Rs.4,000 for telephone charges, and a permanent travel allowance of Rs.7,500.

The new rates would be Rs.500 as fixed allowance, Rs.5,000 as constituency allowance, Rs.5,000 as telephone charges, and Rs.10,000 as travel allowance.

Besides this, every legislator is entitled to free transit coupons that have been hiked from Rs.74,000 to Rs.1,20,000 per year.

“I would rather not take the raise because the impression one gets is that we are handsomely paid. Already the media is in town speaking of a hike. I can sense the feeling from my electorate that I am going to get a huge increase,” five time legislator P.C. George told IANS.

“Do you know several legislators have taken car loans and every month there is a deduction of Rs 10,000. As a result, today what I get in hand is around Rs 5,000 every month,” said George.

The other expenses the legislators have to incur are: Rs.200 as room rent in the legislators’ hostel, and the excess of their monthly telephone bill, if it crosses Rs.2,000.

“Even after the raise comes into effect, Kerala legislators will continue to be the lowest paid in the country. Moreover, we have to pay a levy to our party,” said Saju Paul, a Communist Party of India-Marxist legislator.

“You know in Rajasthan two clerical staff are given during the assembly session and also the office expenses are taken care. In Kohima, all get two jeeps even,” said Paul.

The CPI-M legislators have to pay 40 percent of their salary as levy to the party.

“My secretary, who is on deputation from the state government, gets a higher salary than me,” said a legislator.

“Forget about looking after family needs, what we get is just not enough to meet our expenses,” another legislator said.

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