The Andhra Pradesh Assembly today passed a Bill effecting a substantial hike in salaries and other emoluments of legislators, a day after Telangana raised the allowances of its lawmakers. The measure by the AP government is likely to impose an additional financial burden of Rs 30,62,31,300 per annum. Notably, only one MLA (of the opposition YSRC) in the 175-member opposed the salary hike.
Leader of Opposition Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, however, said his party supported the Bill as YSRC members too were part of the Assembly Amenities Committee that recommended the salary hike. Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu moved the Bill on behalf of Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu. Yanamala said it was not right to create a controversy over the Bill. "Never in history was such a Bill discussed (in the House). We have to respect the Amenities Committee," he noted.
As per the legislation passed today, which is an amendment to AP Payment of Salaries and Pension and Removal of Disqualifications Act 1953, the monthly salary of each legislator has been enhanced from Rs 95,000 to Rs 1.25 lakh. The accommodation allowance has been doubled from Rs 25,000, while maximum pension to retired members has also been increased to Rs 50,000. For the first time, the amended legislation provides for an annual allowance of Rs 20,000 to each member towards magazines and books. Motor car/ house building advance, which is recoverable, has been doubled to Rs 20 lakh.
However, YSRC member Kotamreddy Sridhar Reddy said he was opposing the Bill, according to his conscience. "The state is reeling under severe financial crisis. People will not appreciate if we give ourselves a salary hike like this," the first-time MLA from Nellore Rural seat said. "Conduct a referendum in any one of the 175 constituencies you wish. If people accept the legislators' salary hike, I will not only resign from my post but also not contest any election in future," Sridhar said. .