The salaries of ministers and legislators belonging to Jammu and Kashmir have now been doubled. Alongside this, the pension for former-mlas has also been revised by the government. This order would come into effect from July 8.
An appeal to increase the salaries of the ministers and the legislators was made in the last assembly session which was later approved by the Governor on July 8.
Till now, the ministers and legislators in J&K used to draw Rs 85,000/month and Rs 80,000/month respectively and these figures now stand doubled at Rs. 1.7 Lakh/month and Rs. 1.6 Lakh/month. These salaries are inclusive of the allowances.
The pension amounts for previous former MLAs has been revised and would depend on the duration of work. Addressing a section of media, Speaker Kavinder Gupta confirmed the increased pay structures of the Ministers and the MLAs.
The issue at hand is what bothers common man everywhere in the country and J&K is no different. In fact the case of Jammu and Kashmir is worth paying attention to.
The increase in salaries, for instance is not the prime concern as is the pension system of those who even once serving in government as legislators. Former legislators are paid hefty pensions and there is absolutely no reasoning that can ably justify that.
The legislators are but elected representatives who have the power to make changes in the constitution. As it is they are paid heavy salaries, which as mentioned earlier, were recently doubled. After finishing their tenure, the former legislators are paid pensions for lifetime out of taxpayers money. There is a financial security system in place for them irrespective of whether they are of any instrumental aid to the society.
Compare this with those in the business community or those working in the private sector. A business can fail anytime and a person can be shown the pink slip in the private sector on any given day of the month. The trading community in Jammu, alongwith the manufacturing units are some of the biggest taxpayers but there is no financial security for them. Those working in the private sector in Jammu and Kashmir are liable to pay taxes even out of weak salaries but there is no sense of security for these individuals either.
The debate is simple. Why do former legislators enjoy security and perks when they are not of any use to the society? Come to think of it, a sizeable section in the government jobs in Jammu and Kashmir does not work to bring to table any results. The state of Jammu and Kashmir is one of the worst places in India affected by red tapism. Any entrepreneurial venture needs guts as getting your documents approved can easily take years.
The private sector providing services barely exists and even the bigger organizations from other parts of the country avoids the state for the aforementioned reason. If this does not define the inefficacy of the babus, then what does?
There is no measure for productivity of the government officials who sit tight in their chairs and get a time-bound promotion. The legislators and the ministers may make noise from time to time about removing the deadwood, lists are prepared but nothing of the order materialises. The corrupt rule the roost and after retirement live with fancy pension monies.
When the government of J&K in no way secures the livelihoods of those working in the private sector or those meaning to provide jobs through entrepreneurial ventures, why is it then that the inefficient Babus or the former legislators get perks for not working in their lifetime?
This is a debate that merits attention of the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir.