GUWAHATI, Sept 7 - AIUDF MLA Aminul Islam has called for a hike in salaries and allowances of the legislators in the State. Raising the issue in the Assembly today, Islam said the current salary and allowances of MLAs are very low.
He said besides a monthly salary of Rs 1.8-Rs 2.2 lakh, MLAs should also be provided constituency allowance of at least Rs 60,000 per month, besides allowance for having the services of personal assistant, driver, cook and computer operator. �Many people say that legislators should not draw any salary because we are engaged in providing social service. But the truth is that even other people like engineers, doctors and teachers are also providing social services, and they also receive a salary,� he added.
�Staff of the Legislative Assembly are drawing more salary than MLAs. This is an issue that affects all MLAs, irrespective of our party affiliations,� he said, adding that people at times expect certain help from their local MLAs.
�People, who are facing some problems, expect help from us. Similar is the case when some local organisations organise Bihu or other such events. People�s expectations are more from MLAs than officials, despite the fact that we receive less salary than officials,� he said.
Islam cited examples of some other states where legislators get higher salaries and allowances than in Assam.
He also rued the fact that MLAs are not provided their own individual offices and said it affects their work.
Speaking on the issue, Congress MLA Abdul Khaleque said while there is a need for hike in the salary and allowances of legislators, such a decision should be taken by an independent commission.
In his reply, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said if the Amenities Committee takes a decision with regard to the salary issue, the government would respect the wish of the House.
�However, my request is that we should not take up the matter now as the State had recently experienced a major flood in which many people suffered. When the situation returns to normal, we can decide on the issue,� he said.
Sarma further said there are many former MLAs who have also got elected to Parliament and continue to draw pension as both ex-MLA and ex-MP. �That is not good. They should opt for only one pension,� Sarma said.
He also said many former officials, who have got elected as MLAs, also continue to enjoy the twin benefits. He suggested that the House�s Amenities Committee should look into that matter.