Now that they have achieved a generous hike in pension, former MLAs and MLCs of the state have decided they want more in kind as well, and put in approximately half a dozen demands with the state government, including the wish that an individual of their choice to be eligible for their pension after their death.
The hike of Rs 15,000 granted on the concluding day of the Monsoon session will make a hole of Rs 30 crore in the state exchequer’s pocket, and make the MLAs and MLCs the county’s highest paid former lawmakers, claimed a former MLA, admitting that asking for such a hefty hike in pension was unjust.
At a recent meeting, a body representing 822 former MLAs and MLCs demanded that they be provided with railway coupons instead of having to submit reimbursement claims to their respective district collectors. Currently, only the sitting members of the state legislature are allowed to purchase railway tickets against coupons supplied to them by the state legislature secretariat.
The former legislators also want the government’s permission to use the national emblem on their letterheads. This, said an official from Mantralaya, will allow their letters to government offices be categorised under the VVIP section. As per existing norms, only the sitting members of state legislature and the Parliament can print the national emblem on their letterheads, besides members of the cabinet and top government officials.
That’s not all -- these former lawmakers also want to lay claim to the status of special executive officer (SEO), which will allow them to attest various documents.
The SEOs, appointed by the state general administration department, can use the rubber stamp of the national emblem and sign various documents. This demand has not yet been approved, said the senior official.
Another contentious demand made by these officials is that a nominee receive family pension in the case of their passing. The individual that they recommend should be entitled to receive the same amount after their death. This demand too, has not been approved by the state.
The former legislators have been allowed to use some of the rooms at the old secretariat MLA hostel near Lion Gate. According to an official, the rooms were originally meant to accommodate MLAs and MLCs from the other states during their official visits to Mumbai, but were eventually usurped by former MLAs and MLCs. But the space isn’t enough, and a demand has been made for more rooms.