A businesswoman figuring on the Forbes list of top ten richest Indians and a former Chief Minister currently in jail after being convicted in Junior Basic Trained teachers’ recruitment scam and the son of a former Chief Minister are among the 262 beneficiaries of the Haryana government’s pension scheme for former MLAs with an annual expenditure of ₹22.93 crore, an RTI reply has revealed.
Former Haryana Congress MLA Capt. Ajay Yadav draws the maximum pension of ₹2,38,050 per month, followed by Indian National Lok Dal supremo and former Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala (₹2,22,525), Chandravati (₹2,22,525), Sampat Singh (₹2,14,763) and Balbir Pal Shah (₹2,07,000), stated the reply to an RTI application by P.P. Kapoor, a resident of Panipat.
Mr. Chautala was charged with corruption in the recruitment of 3,206 Junior Basic Trained teachers in Haryana in 2000. A Delhi trial court in 2013 convicted him and the Supreme Court later upheld his conviction.
Jindal Steel and Power Limited chairperson Savitri Jindal, the richest woman in India, also draws a monthly pension of ₹90,563 per month.
Mr. Yadav told The Hindu that the pension to the ex-MLAs was in recognition of their round-the-clock service to the society and not all former legislators were well-off. He added that the government must review its decision to discontinue pension to its employees.
Mr. Kapoor said the minimum monthly pension of the former MLAs had been increased from ₹20,250 to ₹51,750 over the past five years. He added that as per the RTI, as many as 161 former MLAs were drawing a monthly pension of ₹51,750 and 39 former MLAs were drawing ₹90,543. Mr. Chautala’s son Ajay Chautala, who is a convict in the JBT recruitment scam, gets ₹51,750 per month.
Besides, the Haryana government also spends ₹3.15 crore annually on pension to the widows of 129 former MLAs.
Former Chief Minister (Late) Bhajan Lal’s wife Jasma Devi draws a monthly pension of ₹99, 619 per month under the family pension scheme and another pension of ₹51,750 in her capacity as former MLA.
‘Burden on exchequer’
Mr. Kapoor said that the pension for government employees was discontinued after 2006 and there was no such provision for the farmers and workers, but all former MLAs, despite being resourceful, were drawing huge pensions causing burden on the exchequer.
He demanded that certain terms and conditions be fixed for the pension to the ex-MLAs as there were for all government schemes such as social security pension schemes.