As government formation is likely to take place in later part of this month, the 87 newly-elected legislators in Jammu and Kashmir have got a reason to rejoice as they would be entitled to get the pending salaries of January and February after they are administered oath.
“As per the Assembly rules, all the newly-elected members of the House can claim their pending salaries and other perks soon after they are administered the oath,” said a senior officer of the Assembly Secretariat. He said that as per rules no member can claim salary and other benefits until he or she takes oath.
The development has come as a relief for the new legislators.
“It is really a welcome development. We heaved a sigh of relief after hearing the information as monthly salary comes as a big breather for all public servants,” said PDP’s MLA-elect from Sonwar, Muhammad Ashraf Mir. “Earlier we were told that there are some rules and we can’t claim salaries. Now we have come to know that soon after taking the oath we can claim our pending salaries and other perks.”
Another newly elected legislator from South Kashmir said salary is their right. “We were not sitting idle. We worked in our respective constituencies despite the fact that government could not be formed due to fractured mandate,” he said.
In case of re-elections, each newly elected member, according to officials in the Law department, is entitled to claim pension of Rs 29000. “This won’t be the case if the government is formed,” the officials said.
Engineer Abdur Rashid said he feels relaxed after hearing that they would get the pending salary. “At present we are using the official vehicle as the only facility available to us. So it is good that we will get the salary of January and February,” he said, adding that he has been active and working in his Langate Assembly segment.
Each legislator in JK is entitled to a salary of Rs 80,300 a month while the salary of the Chief Minister is Rs 90,300. “The salary bill of lawmakers with the hike made last year is to the tune of Rs 1.34 crore a month,” sources said.
The salary of a legislator was Rs 15000 a month in 2006. The revised salary structure for ministers and legislators was implemented retrospectively with effect from September 1, 2009, and as a result each legislator pocketed arrears of Rs 7.2 lakh and the total cost of arrears on the State exchequer came to nearly Rs 10 crore.
A legislator gets Rs 1000 DA a day when he/she attends the Assembly/Council during session and same amount of DA is given for any House Committee meetings. A legislator and his/her spouse are entitled to full reimbursement of air/rail travel within the country along with 25 percent surcharge.