In cash starved J&K, lawmakers get huge perks, allowances

In cash starved J&K, lawmakers get huge perks, allowances

 

Afaq Bhat

Srinagar, Dec 21: The Jammu and Kashmir government is leaving no stone unturned to keep the legislators and ministers happy.
At present lawmakers draw huge salaries and are entitled to various benefits, including travel and health allowances.
According to the media reports travel allowance of the legislators would be hiked from Rs 1000/ to Rs 2000/ per day. “Lawmakers in Jammu and Kashmir are living a princely life and are enjoying all the comforts. After becoming MLAs and MLCs they get everything free,” said an analyst.
He said, “One needs to ask these legislators and law makers despite getting huge allowances and perks what they do? Have they got any defined job profile?”
“Most of the time one can see legislators attending the big functions and inaugural ceremonies. We have rarely seen legislators reaching out to people and addressing their grievances. Their only aim after winning the election is to grab power and somehow get inducted into the council of ministers,” the analyst added.
“Ones who cannot make it to the council of ministers prefer to enjoy life in their cozy bungalows and by touring different countries. Politicians are considered to be the most affluent class in the country as they are very close to the power center,” he said.
A Kashmir watcher said, “During the past few years there has been a considerable increase in the perks of the legislators in cash starved Jammu and Kashmir. On the other hand the government employees keep on hitting the streets for one or other reason. The recommendations of seventh pay commission have already been implemented by different states but in J&K the government is yet to take any decision in this regard.”
He said, “The employees working with the private companies in Jammu and Kashmir are the lowest paid despite them putting in all their efforts. It’s unfortunate that in Kashmir rich are becoming richer and poor are becoming poorer with each passing day.”
An observer said, “Lawmakers enjoy life at the cost of people as the burden of their expenses directly falls at the state ex-chequer. In old times there used to be one monarch only. Now we have monarchs all around. Besides bearing their expenses government has to bear the expenses of their security personnel and the personal staff which they engage. Despite having everything at their disposal their job is not defined. After winning the elections they don’t even visit their constituencies.”
He said the lawmakers should realize that government provides them with all the benefits to ensure that they serve the people as they are their representatives. “A mechanism should be put at place to check the performances of the legislators so that government can justify the amount of money it spends on the lawmakers,” he added.