HYDERABAD: After spending lakhs of rupees on training classes for first-time MLAs at a five-star hotel here, the cash-starved AP government has now given a quantum jump for the Ministers by enhancing the house rent allowances of the Chief Minister and his colleagues.
Amid protests from the YSRC members, a Bill seeking to amend the Andhra Pradesh Payment of Salaries and Pension and Removal of Disqualifications Act-1953 was adopted by the AP Assembly on Friday, which hikes the house rent allowances of all Ministers, ncluding the Chief Minister and his deputies, from the existing Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000 per month. The additional burden would be Rs 1.05 crore annually.
While introducing the bill in the House, the government in a note stated the objectives and reasons for the amendment. In that note the government said, “Keeping in view of the general increase in the house rent and house rent compensation, the government has decided to enhance the maximum ceiling limit on the rent payable on hired accommodation provided to the Ministers from Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000 per mensum”.
Though some of the YSRC members opposed the amendment, a majority of the ruling TDP members defended the government’s decision. Interestingly, Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, who had earlier directed various departments to implement austerity measures to contain public expenditure in the cash-starved AP, brushed aside the objections of the YSRC members, saying that the enhancement of house rent allowances of ministers would not impose huge financial burden on the exchequer. Yanamala, who had earlier introduced the Bill in the House, felt that as there are not sufficient government quarters for all Ministers, the government had to bring this amendment.