State governments’ cuts in lawmakers’ salaries are likely to have a negligible impact on their finances and would not contribute heavily towards fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, an analysis from PRS Legislative Research said June 17.
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, six Indian states have reduced the salaries and allowances of MLAs (members of legislative assemblies), MLCs (members of legislative councils), ministers, speakers and whips. These states are: Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, Kerala, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh.
The states explained that this was done to bring more money to COVID-19 relief.
These measures have enabled small savings of between Rs 2.1 crore in Bihar and Rs 17.4 crore in Uttar Pradesh. This translates to a range of 0.001% to 0.003% of the total budgeted expenditure for the year 2020-21 of the respective state, PRS found.
The deductions have been made for one year, starting April 1, 2020.
PRS notes that other state officials get paid much more than elected officials such as MLAs. For example, before COVID-19, an MLA could get paid upto Rs 78,000 per month but the state election commissioner, a high court judge or a director general of police could get paid Rs 2.5 lakh, Rs 2.25 lakh and Rs 2.25 lakh, respectively.
IndiaSpend had earlier reported on how members of parliament were asked to give up their salaries to contribute to PM CARES, a new fund set up by the government for COVID-19 relief.
The central government decided on April 6 that Rs 7,800 crore available to Members of Parliament as part of the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme would be taken by the government for two years for “managing the challenges and adverse impact of COVID19 in the country”.
MPs have also had their salaries and allowances reduced by 30% for one year to deal with the pandemic, and this reduction would amount to Rs 55 crore, PRS said in an earlier analysis, adding that suspension of MPLADS would save the government Rs 7,800 crore.