Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said Friday former MLAs will now get pension for only one term. In the process Bhagwant Mann cancelled the practice of drawing the benefit for each term served by them.
An MLA gets a pension of around Rs 75,000 per month for one term. Thereafter, an additional 66 per cent of the pension amount is given for each subsequent term. More than 250 former MLAs are getting pension at present.
“Ex-MLAs in Punjab, even if they have won twice, five times or 10 times, they will now get pension for one term only,” said Mann in a video message. He added that several MPs are also getting pension for remaining MLAs earlier. The CM said money saved from the new decision will be spent on the welfare of people.
“Our political leaders, including MLAs, seek votes from you with folded hands saying that give us a chance to serve you,” Mann said addressing people. “But you will be surprised to know that several MLAs who won thrice, four times or five times and then after losing the elections or after not getting tickets for contesting the polls, get lakhs of rupees in pension per month,” Mann further stated.
“Somebody gets Rs 3.50 lakh and somebody gets Rs 4.50 lakh and somebody gets Rs 5.25 lakh as pension. It puts a financial burden of crores of rupees on the exchequer,” Mann added.
A reduction will also be made in their family pensions as well, Mann stated. Mann said he has given necessary directions to the officers concerned in this regard.
A few days ago, SAD patriarch Parkash Singh Badal, who is 11-time legislator, had said he will not accept pension as an ex-MLA.
The nonagenarian had asked the Punjab government and the Vidhan Sabha speaker to divert his pension to some social work, ‘preferably to help some needy girl students in their education’. Had Badal decided not to forego the pension, he would have received more than Rs 5 lakh per month as pension.
Meanwhile, Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira welcomed the decision. “I welcome the decision of one pension to ex-MLAs taken by @BhagwantMann particularly in view of the colossal debt of Rs 3 Lac Cr on which we’re paying an annual interest of Rs 30K. One pension is justified as lots of MLAs have virtually contributed their lifetime in politics,” said Khaira in a tweet.