Four years after rationalisation, Haryana ex-MLAs continue to draw hefty pension
Posted On April 22nd, 2022, Posted By - Admin
Four years after rationalisation, Haryana ex-MLAs continue to draw hefty pension
Four years ago, in his first term as chief minister, Manohar Lal Khattar had brought in a legislation to rationalise the pension granted to the former legislators in Haryana. “The wrongs done by the previous regimes while fixing their (MLAs’) pension and dearness allowance at the cost of people’s money, had been righted,” Khattar had said as the Vidhan Sabha passed Haryana Legislative Assembly (Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members) Amendment Bill, 2018.
The move was aimed at fixation of MLAs’ pension keeping in view the fast hike in the dole because of multiple allowances. Then, it was seen as a rationalistaion measure considering that some of the multiple-term former legislators were already drawing pension running in lakhs. Sources say some MLAs had met Khattar seeking better facilities to them. It was then that Khattar came to know that the former MLAs were getting both dearness pay (DP) and dearness allowance (DA).
Cut to 2022 and not much seems to have changed in Haryana as former MLAs continue to draw hefty amounts as pension.
Sample this: Capt Ajay Singh Yadav, a six term former MLA of Congress, gets Rs 2.38 lakh as monthly pension. As per the affidavit that he filed while contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Yadav and his wife had assets worth Rs 19 crore. Former chief minister and INLD leader Om Prakash Chautala draws Rs 2.22 lakh per month while former home minister Sampat Singh gets Rs 2.15 lakh. BJP leader and former minister Krishan Lal Panwar gets Rs 2 lakh as pension.
The details were shared by the Haryana Vidhan Sabha secretariat in reply to a Right To Information query by activist PP Kapoor.
As per the RTI reply, the Haryana government spends nearly Rs 30 crore annually on pension (Rs 26.40 crore) to 275 former MLAs and family pension (Rs 3.11 crore) to spouses of 128 deceased legislators.
In neighbouring Punjab, the newly formed Aam Aadmi Party government last month had scrapped pension for multiple terms of the legislators as it implemented “one MLA-one pension” rule. Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, while announcing the decision, said that MLAs in the state would now get pension only for a single term. He said the government will save Rs 80 crore in five years under the new rule. A former MLA in Punjab gets Rs 75,000 as monthly pension.
As per the Haryana Legislative Assembly (Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members) Amendment Bill, 2018, a member of the Vidhan Sabha who had completed first term after January 1, 2016 was entitled to draw Rs 50,000 per month as pension for his first term, and Rs 2,000 for each year or part thereof subsequent to the first term. The former MLA is also entitled to dearness relief at the rates prescribed by government from time to time for the state government’s post-2016 pensioners. The ex-MLAs are allowed the facility of special travelling allowance of up to Rs 10,000 per month provided their monthly pension plus dearness relief does not exceed Rs 1 lakh, according to the legislation.
As per the RTI reply, several former MLAs draw pension of more than Rs 1.5 lakh per month. They include former ministers Karan Singh Dalal, Ram Bilas Sharma and Bhagi Ram. All are five-term MLAs — Dalal from Palwal constituency, Sharma from Mahendragarh, and Bhagi Ram from Ellenabad. They get Rs 1.91 lakh each as monthly pension.
The maximum family pension, which is Rs 99,619 per month, is given to Jasma Devi, the widow of former chief minister Bhajan Lal. Jasma Devi also draws pension as a former MLA, her cumulative pension being Rs 1.61 lakh. Bhajan Lal’s elder son and former deputy CM Chander Mohan draws Rs 1.52 lakh per month.
Senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala’s mother Vidya Surjewala is getting a family pension of Rs 87,975 per month following the death of her husband and former minister Shamsher Singh Surjewala in 2020. As a former legislator, Randeep Surjewala too draws Rs 1.68 lakh as pension.
Savitri Jindal, wife of former minister and noted industrialist the late O P Jindal, gets over Rs 90,000 per month. Another former minister Mange Ram Gupta’s wife Savitri Devi is getting a monthly family pension of Rs 84,094.
The AAP is demanding implementation of “one MLA-one pension” rule in Haryana too. A four-time MLA Nirmal Singh , who recently quit Congress and joined the AAP, has announced to forgo his pension for three terms.
On the other hand, several former MLAs have been raising the demand for a considerable pension on the grounds that being public representatives they have to travel to their constituency. They insist that “honourable pensions promote honesty” in politics. In 2016, as many as 70 former MLAs, including some former ministers, had gathered in Chandigarh to show their unity on this issue.
Govt gives home and car loans to MLAs
The Haryana government also gives a house loan up to Rs 60 lakh besides a loan up to Rs 20 lakh for the purchase of vehicles to sitting and former MLAs. Sixty-eight sitting and former MLAs were given 32.21 crore in house loan from 2010 to 2021, of which Rs 20.83 crore is yet to be returned.
Of the Rs 27.48 crore given to the sitting and former MLAs to buy vehicles between 2004 and 2021, Rs 9.96 crore is yet to be returned.
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AGRICULTURE AND FARMERS WELFARE DEPARTMENT, HARYANA
KRISHI BHAWAN, SECTOR 21, PANCHKULA
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THE SPIO & REGIONAL OFFICER, GURGAON (NORTH)
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