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UP ministers to now pay taxes from own pockets as state amends law

Uttar Pradesh ministers will pay income taxes on their salaries and perks from their own pockets, responding to a directive by chief minister Yogi Adityanath and in a departure from a 38-year-old practice in which the state treasury was footing the bill.

“The state treasury will no longer pay the income tax of ministers and the provision in the Uttar Pradesh Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1981, requiring the government to pay the income tax of the chief minister and the ministers, will be nullified,” minister for parliamentary affairs and finance Suresh Khanna said in a statement late on Friday.

The Act was passed when VP Singh, then in Congress, was chief minister of the state and there existed a perception that most ministers came from poor backgrounds and needed their income tax liabilities to be underwritten by the government. That perception has changed over the years.

“Yes, I will speak to chief minister Yogi Adityanath and get this provision nullified through an amendment. Why should the government pay tax for ministers when all the citizens pay their income tax themselves,” Khanna said earlier on Friday.

Amendments to the Act have been made to increase salaries over 40 times in the past 38 years, but no changes have ever been made to sub section 3 of the Act that reads “The salary referred to in sub sections (1) and (2) shall be exclusive of the tax payable in respect of such salary (including perquisites) under any law relating to income tax for the time being in force, and such tax shall be borne by the state government.”

In 1981, sub section 1 of the Act provided for Rs 1,000 per month of salary for the chief minister, ministers and ministers of state while sub section 2 provided for Rs 650 per month salary for a deputy minister. These sub sections, amended in 2016, now provide for a salary of Rs.40,000 per month for the chief minister, ministers and ministers of state and Rs 35,000 per month for a deputy minister. The Adityanath government has no deputy minister.

The state government has been paying income tax on the salaries and perks of successive chief ministers and their council of ministers since the enactment of the Act in 1981. It paid Rs 86 lakh as income tax for members of Adityanath’s council of ministers recently.

“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 Indian Administrative Service officer who had contested the Lok Sabha election on the Lok Gathbandhan Party ticket.

First Published:
Sep 13, 2019 23:53 IST

Source: HindustanTimes