For the 822 former MLAs and MLCs plus 750 survivors that are dependent on them, the monsoon session of the state legislature came as a windfall. On Friday, the state assembly passed a bill in favour of hiking their monthly pension to Rs 40,000 within minutes of being tabled in the house.
The hike, which will add an annual burden of Rs 30 crore on the state exchequer, is startling, as the neighbouring state of Gujarat doesn’t pay even a single rupee to its former legislators. Maharashtra offers the highest pension to its MLAs and MLCs and the amount is more than what a former Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha member makes – Rs 20,000 a month.
This monthly pension is payable not only to the MLAs and MLCs, but also to their survivors in case of death.
The state cabinet approved the bill - before tabling it in front of the state assembly - despite opposition from the state’s finance department. The department was asked to submit its comments, which is a mandatory step before acquiring formal approval from the cabinet, within a day’s time. The bill was approved on Friday without any discussion on it.
Opposing the hike, the department headed by Deputy CM Ajit Pawar said it was an unreasonable demand considering the shaky financial condition of the state. The debt-ridden state has already come under the burden of Rs 4,000 crore through supplementary demands that were made to face the rainstorm in Vidarbha and other parts of the state.
Apart from the approved Rs 40,000, MLAs and MLCs will also receive an additional Rs 2,000 for every year they serve in office.
For example, if a former legislator served for six to seven terms (one term is of five years for an MLA and six years for an MLC, once elected), the pension amount would jump to a whopping Rs 1 lakh per month.
If someone were elected for one term, the monthly pension would be Rs 50,000, including Rs 40,000 basic amount and Rs 10,000 (Rs 2000 per year he has served).
State’s former legislators are also entitled to travel allowance such as two-tier AC rail journey tickets, free travel in state transport buses and accommodation in state’s PWD rest houses.
Apart from this there are a few rooms in the MLA hostels in Mumbai reserved especially for them.
Pension offered by other states
Gujarat: no pension
Haryana: Rs 7,500 + Rs3,750+ dearness allowance (family pension Rs 2,500 or 50 pc of the last drawn amount)
Madhya Pradesh: Rs 7,000+Rs 300
Chhattisgarh: Rs 16,000 (family pension Rs 10,000)
Tamil Nadu: Rs 12,000 (family pension 50 pc)
Himachal Pradesh: Rs 18,000 (family pension 50 pc)
Rajasthan: Rs 7,500 (family pension Rs 2,500 or 50 pc of the last amount drawn)
Karnataka: Rs 25,000 + Rs 1000, maximum ceiling is Rs 35,000 (family pension 50 pc)
The pension hike since year 2000
Year 2000 -- Rs 4,000
Year 2005 -- Rs 6,000
Year 2007 -- Rs 8,000
Year 2008 -- Rs 10,000
Year 2009 -- Rs 15,000
Year 2011 -- Rs 25,000