LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has decided that all CMs and ministers of the state government will pay their income tax themselves from now on.
In a late-night move on Friday, the minister for parliamentary affairs and finance Suresh Khanna said that following a directive from the CM, the 1981 Act enacted by then CM VP Singh would be repealed.
The VP Singh government had enacted ‘The Uttar Pradesh Ministers Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1981,’ which had a provision for the state treasury to pay income tax of the chief minister and his team.
The state government has been paying income tax on salaries and perks of successive chief ministers and their council of ministers ever since the Act was passed. It paid Rs 86 lakh as income tax for members of Yogi’s council of ministers recently.
There was palpable resentment within the Yogi government, the Opposition and civil society over the shifting of the tax burden of ministers to the state treasury as many of the payees had a luxurious lifestyle.
“The state treasury will no longer pay the income tax of ministers and the provision in the Uttar Pradesh Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1981, requiring the government to pay the income tax of the chief minister and the ministers, will be nullified,” Suresh Khanna said in a
press statement issued on Friday night.
Although with respective amendments to the Act, the salaries of ministers had gone up over 40 times in the past 38 years, but no change was ever made in ‘subsection 3’ of the Act that stated: “The salary referred to in subsections (1) and (2) shall be exclusive of the tax payable in respect of such salary
(including perquisites) under any law relating to income tax for the time being in force, and such tax shall be borne by the state government.”
In 1981, subsection 1 of the Act provided for Rs 1,000 per month salary for the chief minister, ministers and ministers of state while subsection 2 provided for Rs 650 per month salary for a deputy minister. These subsections, amended in 2016, now provide for salary of the chief minister, ministers and ministers
of state to be Rs 40,000 per month while the amended subsection 2 provides for a salary of Rs 35,000 per month for a deputy minister. The Yogi government has no deputy minister.
Khanna, who got the finance portfolio following the Yogi ministry’s expansion on August 21, 2019, had earlier given indications in this regard by enquiring about the issue at an official meeting of his department recently.
Although the provision of requiring the state government to pay income tax on salaries and perks of the council of ministers was taken in 1981 in the name of low pay structure, the move has evoked strong reactions.
Cabinet minister and government spokesperson Srikant Sharma said the CM was firm on repealing obsolete laws which were the legacy of earlier regimes. Till date, the exchequer had borne the income tax burden of at least 19 chief ministers and over 1,000 ministers.
Besides Yogi, CMs who have occupied the top political office of the state since 1981 include Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati, Rajnath Singh, Kalyan Singh, Ram Prakash Gupta, ND Tiwari, Vir Bahadur Singh, Sripati Mishra and VP Singh.