Punjab CM Asks Ministers, MLAs To Pay Tax By Themselves
The cash-starved government in Punjab plans to end the practice of paying income tax of MLAs. Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh suggested that all elected representatives including MLAs and ministers should pay their income tax themselves. He made the suggestion during the cabinet sub-committee meeting on fiscal management. Earlier in October 2017, finance department made the proposal and it has now been endorsed by the CM.
At present, the tax is being paid by the state government, draining its exchequer. “Punjab was possibly the only state in the country to follow the system of the government paying taxes for all ministers and MLAs,” said an official after the meeting. They spent Rs 11.08 crore on this account, according to a report by The Tribune. If the suggestion by the CM is implemented, this move will lead to saving of this entire amount.
Singh also appealed to his colleagues and wealthy farmers to give up their power subsidy. He has made a declaration to give up his own subsidy.
RTI activist HS Arora filed a petition against the tax exemption to Punjab MLAs before the assembly speaker. “As elected representatives of the people, MLAs cannot be made to feel superior to those who elect them. The government does not bear tax burden of anyone occupying public positions, then why MLAs?” he said in the petition. “Exemption from payment of income tax is not available to any other public servant, citizen, or even members of the judiciary in Punjab,” he added.
Salaries of Punjab MLAs
Punjab MLAs have a monthly salary and fixed allowance of Rs 84,000, and Rs 30,000 is credited for petrol/diesel expenses, according to the Punjab government website. In addition, they get travelling and daily allowance. Many of them avail power subsidy and subsidy for horticulture crops. Few of them have stake in the mining and transport business.