To give a final shape to one of its first major decisions aimed at saving crores of rupees annually, Punjab Government will now table a bill for ‘one-MLA, one-pension’ rule in the upcoming Budget session, expected to be held in the second week of June.
Notably, the State Cabinet had, on May 2, approved an ordinance limiting only one pension for each legislator— a move expected to save around Rs 19.53 crore annually. The ordinance was later sent to the Governor Banwari Lal Purohit for his assent.
However, the Governor has now returned the ordinance while asking the State Government to place the Bill in the upcoming Budget session. It may be mentioned that an Ordinance is usually brought in when the next Vidhan Sabha session is to be conducted after two-three months. With the session set to be held in June, the Governor has asked the Government to take it up as the Bill.
Days after taking over as the Chief Minister in March, Bhagwant Mann had announced that all former MLAs would get pension for only one term, doing away with the practice of drawing the benefit for each term served by them.
However, with the Governor withholding his assent to the ordinance for the same, all the former MLAs will continue to get the multiple pensions as per the previous rules.
As of now, the State Government was paying Rs 18 crore annual pension to as many as 241 former MLAs. In fact, some of the former legislators were getting pension as much as Rs three lakh per month.
The Cabinet, in its meeting on May 2, had also approved amendment to Clause 3(1) of ‘The Punjab State Legislature Members (Pension and Medical Facilities Regulation) Act, 1977’ to give MLAs of Punjab Vidhan Sabha one pension (irrespective of number of terms served) at new rate of Rs 60,000 per month plus dearness allowance (as applicable to the pensioners of Punjab Government).
This is instead of present provision according to which a member is being paid a pension of Rs 15,000 plus DA thereon (as admissible to the Punjab Government Pensioners) for the first term, and an additional pension of Rs 10,000 plus DA thereon for every subsequent term.
Once the Act is passed, Punjab’s each legislator would get only one pension of Rs 75,150 per month, irrespective of the terms for which he gets elected.