Monday 18 March 2019

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Economy | Finance

MLAs do it once in two years

 

Goa seems to be getting controversial not only in terms of unanimously passing disputable legislations which are still awaiting the governor's assent, but also by creating a record of amending one act over 15 times in last 30 years.

It is the Goa Salaries, Allowances and Pensions of MLAs Act, 1964, which was once again amended "unanimously" in the monsoon session, this time raising the allowances by over 170 per cent. The governor has assented to the bill last week.

This has now shot up MLAs' fixed allowances including the salaries, consolidated allowances and constituency allowances from Rs 3200 to Rs 8700 per month. Though salaries are hiked by only 80 per cent, the allowances have now increased by over 200 per cent.

Besides this, the telephone allowances are also hiked by 88 per cent while the daily allowances are raised by 300 per cent, from Rs 75 to Rs 300 per day, when MLAs attend any meeting of the House committee or during the session.

Though any Goan MLA can reach the capital city in two hours from any corner of the state, the DA however is calculated two days each prior and after a day's meeting while it's three days each in a similar fashion during Assembly session. The facility granted to larger states where MLAs have to travel for two or three days is blindly accepted in Goa.

The MLAs in Goa also enjoy pension facility even after their death besides several other facilities pertaining to travelling, medical facilities, priority in LPG and telephone connections and even a loan of Rs two lakh to purchase a private vehicle.

The same House of the educated lot however has consciously avoided to amend a provision even once since 1964, where the legislators still pay Re one per day for government accommodation while the balance amount of rent, which has increased several times in last 30 years, is paid from the public exchequer.

These facilities now also apply to the ministers, speaker and deputy speaker, besides all sorts of VIP facilities they enjoy otherwise. In fact, most of the ministers in Goa prefer staying in their own houses and getting it decorated with furniture etc at the cost of public exchequer.

The extravagant expenditure on ministers' travelling, misuse of vehicles, telephone bills, refreshments and parties has become a daily feature of criticism in every Assembly session. Even the bills of attending AICC session held in Calcutta last month were presented to the government.






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