LUCKNOW: To put a four-decade-long practice an end, the UP government on Tuesday tabled an Ordinance in State Assembly, seeking to stop the payment of income tax being paid by the state government treasury payable by ministers against their salaries.
The state legislature held a day-long special session on Tuesday to commemorate the 70 years of adoption of constitution. It took off with the address of Governor Anand Ben to both houses in a joint sitting.
The issue had come to light in September after media reports and taking the cognizance of the matter, CM Yogi Adityanath had asked his ministers to start paying their own income tax, thereby, ending the practice of the state exchequer shelling out the annual amount to pay their income tax.
"UP Minister (Salary, Allowance and Miscellaneous Provision) (Amendment) Ordinance was tabled in UP Assembly by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Khanna. It pertains to stoppage of payment of income tax by the state government payable by ministers on their salaries," UP Justice and Legislative affairs minister Brijesh Pathak told the media persons.
The practise had been in vogue owing to a law enacted in 1981 ensuring that the state ex-chequer would pay the income tax incurred by the UP CM and his ministers.
The Uttar Pradesh Ministers' Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Act,1981 provides that the chief minister and his council of ministers don't dip into their own pockets to pay income tax. The amount had been going to the Income Tax authorities from the state exchequer-year after year.
The law, enacted during the regime of VP Singh as UP CM. Since then, it has benefitted 19 CMs and about 1,000 ministers so far. The CM who enjoyed the sop have been from across parties -- including Yogi
Adityanath, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati, Kalyan Singh, Ram Prakash Gupta, Rajnath Singh, Sripati Mishra, Vir Bahadur Singh and N D Tiwari.
For the last financial year, the state government paid Rs 86 lakh as the ministers' tax bill, a senior finance ministry official said.
Opposition Congress boycotted the special sitting of the legislature accusing the BJP of killing the Constitution in Maharashtra. The Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party were present during the governor's address. But SP members also staged a ‘Save Constitution’ sit-in in front of the statue of former prime minister Charan Singh.
BSP chief Mayawati asked the Centre and the state government to work in complete honesty and in accordance with the Constitution on the occasion.