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regular-article-logo Monday, 15 July 2024

Hike of Rs 40,000 a month in MLA pay announced by Mamata Banerjee, Dearness Allowance protesters angry

While enhancing salaries of MLAs, CM made it clear that there would be no revision in her salary as she did not draw any salary since 2011 when she assumed power

Arkamoy Datta Majumdar Calcutta Published 08.09.23, 06:36 AM
State government employees demonstrate for DA hike at Shahid Minar in Calcutta in March this year

State government employees demonstrate for DA hike at Shahid Minar in Calcutta in March this year

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday announced a hike of Rs 40,000 a month in salaries of 294 MLAs of Bengal, drawing criticism from various state government employees’ unions who are agitating for the release of their “due” dearness allowance.

While enhancing the salaries of the MLAs, the chief minister made it clear that there would be no revision in her salary as she did not draw any salary since 2011 when she assumed power.

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“The salary of MLAs of the West Bengal Assembly is very less compared to that of other states. So it has been decided that their salaries will be hiked by Rs 40,000 a month,” the chief minister announced inside the House.

After the hike, the monthly salary of MLAs will now be Rs 50,000 instead of Rs 10,000 a month, whereas that of the ministers of state will be Rs 50,900 instead of Rs 10,900 a month and the cabinet ministers will receive Rs 51,000 instead of Rs 11,000 a month.

With the hike in salary, the MLAs will now get Rs 1.21 lakh a month, including various allowances, including a daily allowance of Rs 2,000. Earlier, an MLA used to get Rs 81,000 a month.

Cabinet ministers will get Rs 1.5 lakh a month and ministers of state Rs 1,49,990 a month.

The hike in salary for the MLAs has irked the state government employees’ unions.

The Sangrami Joutha Mancha, an umbrella platform of multiple state government employees’ unions, reacted strongly to ask how the state government arranged money for this hike.

Bhaskar Ghosh, the convener of the platform, said that when it comes to clear due DA to the state government employees, the chief minister always said the state didn’t have enough funds.

“If that is the case, how can she announce a hike in the salaries of the lawmakers? Where is this money coming from now?” Ghosh asked.

Mancha members have been protesting for the last 224 days near the Shahid Minar demanding DA on a par with their counterparts in the central government.

According to Ghosh, the state government employees receive 36 per cent less DA than the central government employees. “But as the Centre has announced a further 4 per cent hike in DA for its employees, the difference will now reach 40 per cent,” he said.

Ghosh said that a legal course of action is being contemplated against this decision. Additionally, the Mancha will hit the streets soon to protest against this announcement.

The leader of the Opposition and the BJP’s Nandigram MLA, Suvendu Adhikari, also criticised the hike in the lawmakers’ salaries, saying that the BJP legislative party did not support this decision.

“This decision has been announced unilaterally. We were not in the House at that time.... The (state) government should clear the pending DA of state government employees, policemen, teachers and pensioners instead of increasing the salary of lawmakers,” Adhikari said.

Some Trinamul insiders said that the idea of enhancing the salaries of the elected lawmakers was that the MLAs should not indulge in corrupt practices for money.

“Now, the MLAs will get enough money to run their families. So, they should
work honestly,” said a party insider.

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