While the members of the Manipur Legislative Assembly continued to enjoy a monthly salary and allowances of Rs. 1,03,000 even during the first three years of the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly, they are now getting Rs. 2,25,000 after the commencement of the Salaries and Allowances of Members of the Legislative Assembly (Manipur) Twentieth First Amendment Act, 2020 during the first term Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government.
The current salary and allowances of a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Manipur, Rs. 2,25,000 is the highest in India’s Northeast and second highest in India next to Telangana.
An MLA of Telangana enjoys monthly salary and allowances of Rs. 2,50,000, which is the highest monthly salary and allowances of an MLA in India. If a member of the Telangana Legislative Assembly does not enjoy accommodation in government quarters, his monthly salary and allowances is Rs. 2,75,000 including accommodation allowance of Rs. 25,000 per month.
Notably, few states or union territories which give higher salary and allowances for MLAs are Jharkhand, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. An MLA of Jharkhand now gets monthly salary and allowances of Rs. 2,10,333. Monthly salary and allowances of an MLA in Delhi and Madhya Pradesh gets Rs. 2,10,000 while an MLA in Uttar Pradesh receives his monthly salary and allowances of Rs. 1,87,000 since 2021.
An MLA in Bihar gets Rs. 1,65,000 as monthly salary and allowances while an MLA in Maharashtra receives Rs. 1,60,000 as monthly salary and allowances.
In India’s Northeast, even Assam which has enough revenues pays an MLA Rs. 1,80,000 as monthly salary and allowances.
Meghalaya MLA get Rs. 2,02,000 as monthly salary and allowances.
In Arunachal Pradesh, an MLA receives Rs. 1,20,000 as monthly salary and allowances.
An MLA of Mizoram enjoys Rs. 1,50,000 as monthly salary and allowances.
A member of Nagaland Legislative Assembly gets Rs. 1,35,000 as monthly salary and allowances.
In Tripura a Member of Legislative Assembly receives Rs. 1,25,890 as monthly salary and allowances.
In Sikkim also the monthly salary and allowances of an MLA has been hiked and gets Rs. 1,20,000 per month.
All theses monthly salaries and allowances of the MLAs not only in India’s Northeast states but also other states of India have been hiked in recent years.
Monthly salaries and allowances of the MLAs of Manipur Legislative Assembly has been hiked to Rs. 2,25,000 from earlier amount of Rs. 1,03,000 after the enforcement of the Salaries and Allowances of Members of the Legislative Assembly (Manipur) Twentieth First Amendment Act 2020.
According to the Salaries and Allowances of Members of the Legislative Assembly (Manipur) Twentieth First Amendment Act 2020, the monthly salary and allowances of an MLA of Manipur comprises of Salary (Rs 50,000), Constituency Allowance (Rs 50,000), Contingency Allowance (Rs 25,000), Entertainment Allowance (Rs 25,000), Telephone Allowance (Rs 25,000), Secretarial Allowance (Rs 50,000) and Compensatory Allowance (Rs 25,000).
The Compensatory Allowance of Rs. 25,000 per month is entitled to the members of Manipur Legislative Assembly so long as accommodation of Government Quarters is allotted. Therefore, the MLA gets Rs. 2,50,000 as monthly salary and allowances.
The sitting allowance of an MLA is now Rs 2000 if the sitting is held inside the State and Rs 5000 if it is held outside the State.
A Member of Manipur Legislative Assembly and his/her family member are entitled to Air travel for medical treatment outside the State. “Further, provided that Ex-Members and his family shall be entitled to medical treatment in accordance with the Medical Attendance Rules as amended from time to time, applicable to Class-I officers of the State Government.
An MLA of Manipur is also entitled to travel anywhere in India once in a Financial Year for such works so as to enable him/her to discharge his/her duties and functions as approved by the Speaker upto a maximum ceiling of Rs. 3,00,000/- by the Assembly Secretariat.
A Member of Manipur Legislative Assembly is also entitled to a vehicle/housing loan upto a maximum of Rs. 30,00,000/- recoverable from his/her salary with interest as prescribed by the Government during the term of office of his/her membership and remaining balance, if any, from his/her pension.
If a Member or an Ex-member of Manipur Legislative Assembly died before the loan amount with interest is fully recovered, the State Government may write off the outstanding loan amount with interest if considers it necessary in the Public Interest.
A Member of Manipur Legislative Assembly is also entitled to receive a sum of Rs. 2,00,000/- (Rupees two lakh) only per year for the term for furnishing of free residential accommodation when such free furnishing is not provided.
Water and Electric consumption charges of a Member of Manipur Legislative Assembly upto a maximum ceiling of Rs. 25,000/- per month shall be borne by the Assembly Secretariat in excess of which will be paid by the MLA concerned.
Another facility provided to an MLA by the Manipur Legislative Assembly Secretariat is 1200 litres of petrol per month.
Besides all these financial and material benefits with a monthly salary and allowances of Rs. 2,25,000/2,50,000, an MLA of Manipur enjoys the services of nine different posts for which he can employ nine persons with salary and allowances amounting to Rs. 2,50,038. The amount of pay and allowances may be increased from time to time due to enhancement of dearness allowance and other.
An MLA of Manipur can employ two Computer Assistants with monthly salary and allowances of Rs. 30,074 each; one Personal Assistant with monthly salary and allowances of Rs. 30,074; One PS/PRO with monthly salary and allowances of Rs. 30,074; three Drivers with monthly salary and allowances of Rs. 27,998 each; two Peons with monthly salary and allowances of Rs. 22,874 each altogether amounting to Rs. 2,50,038 per month. The amount of pay and allowances of the employees may be increased from time to time due to enhancement of dearness allowance and other.
Over and above these, an MLA of Manipur is allotted with Rupees two cores annually for the development of his/her Assembly Constituency under the MLA Local Area Development Fund.
An Ex-MLA of Manipur Legislative is also entitled monthly pensions of Rs. 70,000. Family Pension is also entitled with sixty percent of pension of the Ex-Member.
There is also an annual increment of Rs. 4000 for MLAs who have been elected to the Manipur Legislative Assembly more than once.
As such, an ex-MLA who had been elected twice five years back would get monthly pension of Rs 90,000 (Rs 70,000 plus Rs 20,000, annual increment for five years). The monthly pension would be higher corresponding to the number of times one is elected to the State Assembly. An ex-MLA who had been elected six times may get monthly pension of Rs 1,90,000.
Now, there is a concern of common citizens when the salary and allowances of MLAs of Manipur has been hiked upto 120% from earlier salary and allowances because the monthly salary and allowances with other financial and material benefits are paid from the tax-payers money. They are paid for legislative and executive works for management of the state for the welfare of the people. The question arises is how do the MLAs fix their salary and allowances and other financial and material benefits.
In most states in India, state legislatures decide their salaries and allowances, by passing a law in their respective state legislatures. State legislatures periodically pass laws to revise the salaries, or in states such as Bihar have enacted a law that delegates this power to the state government. This gives rise to a question of conflict of interest.
Some states in India have amended laws setting the salary and allowances for legislators to decrease this conflict of interest and ensure regular revisions. Some states have pegged the salaries of their respective state legislators with the salaries of government civil servants in the state. For example, Maharashtra has pegged it to the minimum basic pay and dearness allowance (DA) of the Principal Secretary to the state government, while Gujarat has pegged it to the minimum basic pay and DA of the Deputy Secretary.
The MPs of India also set and revise their salary and allowances under Article 106 of the Constitution of India. Indian MP Salary is increased ever five years on the basis of the cost of inflation index while the salary of the MPs of Canada is adjusted annually as per the average consumer price index of the previous year.
In United Kingdom, the salary of MP is set by an Independent Authority composed of a Former MP, a Former Judge, and Auditor; and revised annually as per the average public sector earnings.
In Australia also the salary of MP is set by an Independent Authority composed of experts in government, economics, law, and public administration; and revised annually while the Independent Authority of New Zealand is composed of judges, MPs, and members of independent statutory bodies; based on the legislatures’ position in Parliament.
In case of France the salary of the legislatures is indexed to civil servants’ pay. Average of salaries of the highest and lowest paid civil servant at the highest grade used to determine salaries. Pay of civil servants decided by treasurers (three MPs) of Parliament.
It is a fact that Article 195 of the Constitution of India provides that Member of Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council of a State shall be entitled to receive such salaries and allowances as may from time to time be determined by the Legislature of the State by law.
However, there arise some issues which need to be considered. MLAs fix their own salaries and allowances, and other financial and material benefits as well. The question is whether alternate mechanisms can be evolved. Can their salaries and allowances be benchmarked against that of other senior public officials? Can their salaries and allowances be fixed by an independent body?
To help address the issues arising out of the hike of salary and allowances of MLAs in India particularly Manipur which is one of the poorest states of India, it will be helpful to look and study how other states and parliamentary democratic countries set and revise their salaries and allowances discussed above.
The members of Manipur Legislative Assembly also need to revise their salary and allowances ethically and rationally to use the public money purposefully and wisely with moral and financial responsibilities by convincing the tax-payers with basis of hiking the salary and allowances.
Senior Editor: Imphal Review of Arts and Politics