AIZAWL, Nov 24 - Corruption watchdog-turned-political party PRISM (People�s Representatives for Identity and Status of Mizoram) has slammed the hike in salaries and allowances of MLAs by a whopping 130.77 percent.
The Mizoram Assembly recently passed Amendment Bills by which the salaries and allowances of the Chief Minister, Speaker, Deputy Speaker, MLAs, Ministers and Leader of Opposition have been hiked.
The monthly salary and allowances of MLAs were hiked from the existing Rs 65,000 to Rs 1.50 lakh, a rise of about 130.77 percent. The revised salaries will come into effect once it is notified in the gazette.
In a statement, PRISM media wing chairman TBC Lalvenchhunga said that considering the State�s poor financial health, it is highly inappropriate to hike the salaries and allowances of MLAs while their wealth usually increases six to seven times during their five-year term.
�The remarks by the ruling MLAs during the discussion on the Bills in the State Assembly that raising their salaries was necessary because they had to cater to the needs of the people of their constituencies was shameful,� Lalvenchhunga said.
PRISM said that the salaries and allowances of the MLAs were also revised in 2010.
According to the affidavits filed by the candidates before 2013 elections, most of the MLAs� wealth increased manifold during their five-year term.
Former Congress minister Zodintluanga, whose wealth increased the least, became richer by Rs 75 lakh between 2008 and 2013, he said.
As many as 166 candidates of the 2018 elections were crorepatis, of whom 36 were elected. The number of crorepatis among the MLAs in Mizoram increased from 30 in the previous Assembly to 36 in the current Assembly.
The Association for Democratic Reforms has estimated the average wealth of the 40 MLAs at Rs 5 crores, he said.
�Among the MLAs, Robert Romawia Royte is the richest with declared assets worth Rs 44 crores. His statement in the House that being an MLA had put additional financial burden on him made us think that he has totally forgotten his responsibility as the people�s representative,� Lalvenchhunga said.
He pointed out that the average wealth of MLAs in Mizoram has increased from Rs 2.66 crores to Rs 3.78 crores from 2013 to 2018.
�While the wealth of our representatives keeps on increasing, the wealth of the people they are supposed to serve is diminishing. There is a general concept that it is impossible for those who are not crorepati to contest elections. It is truly disheartening to see that the crorepati MLAs are so enthusiastic about hiking their own salaries,� Lalvenchhunga said.