The Uttar Pradesh government is considering doing away with the provision that makes the treasury liable for paying income taxes on salaries and perks given to the chief minister, ministers, ministers of state and deputy ministers of the state.
The state cabinet minister for parliamentary affairs and finance, Suresh Khanna said he will speak to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to nullify this provision. “Why should the government pay taxes for ministers when all the other citizens pay their income tax themselves,” said Khanna.
Although amendments were made to increase ministers’ salaries over 40 times in the past 38 years, the sub section 3 of the Act, allowing for the state to bear the income tax of all Uttar Pradesh ministers’, had been left untouched.
In 1981, when the provision was inserted, the salary for chief minister, ministers and ministers of state stood at Rs 1,000 per month and Rs 650 per month for deputy ministers. By 2016, through several amendments, it had been raised to Rs 40,000 per month for the first group and Rs 35,000 per month for the second.
Khanna, who had recently raised this issue, is also considering doing away with the provisions entitling ministers to use government owned circuit houses and inspection houses without payment of rent or electricity charges. All state ministers get travelling allowance.
Under this contentious provision in force since 1981, the state government paid Rs 86 lakh as income tax for members of Yogi’s council of ministers recently.
Senior officers of the state government, however, refused to divulge the amount spent on paying income taxes for ministers in previous governments.
UP government spokesman Siddharth Nath Singh said he would be “the first one” to support an amendment to do away with these provisions.
The controversial provision’s coming to light has resulted in calls for its withdrawal.
“As an IAS officer, I too used to get a low salary. Law of the land should be followed by all and such a provision should be immediately withdrawn,” said VS Pandey, a retired IAS officer who had contested the Lok Sabha election on Lok Gathbandhan Party ticket.
Besides Yogi, Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati, Rajnath Singh, Kalyan Singh, Ram Prakash Gupta, ND Tiwari, Vir Bahadur Singh, Sripati Mishra and VP Singh have occupied the chief minister’s office in Uttar Pradesh since 1981.
Sep 13, 2019 20:19 IST