Srinagar: The unemployment rate in the state notwithstanding, the government has increased the travel allowances of its legislators by Rs 50,000 and housing loan by Rs 10, lakh.
The government has also increased the motor car advance by Rs 5 lakh and also made 100 percent increase in the sitting fee in the legislative assembly.
“In exercise of powers conferred by Section 4-AA the salaries and allowances of the members of J&K legislature Act, 1960, the government hereby directs that in rule 3 of travelling allowance rules, 1999, Rs 1 lakh be substituted by Rs 1.5 lakh,” reads a notification issued by the Law Secretary Abdul Majid Bhat.
Similarly, the government has hiked the housing loan of legislators from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh and Motor Car Advance from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh.
“The sitting fee of the legislators in the legislature has been increased from Rs 1000 per day to Rs 2000,” Bhat told ‘Kashmir Vision’.
The decision has come a year after the State Government increased the salary of legislators from Rs 60,000 to Rs 1,60,000 apart from other allowances.
“It is like slapping the unemployed youth in the face. This government closed employment schemes and at the same time has been increasing the monetary benefits for its legislators,” said an official in the civil secretariat.
He said they could see youth with postgraduate and even doctorate degrees, moving from pillar to post to seek menial work in the civil secretariat. “And these people (MLAs) are looting the State exchequer by legal and illegal ways,” he said.
The government in July 2016 increased the monthly salary of legislators from Rs 60,000 to Rs 1,60,000, telephone allowances from Rs 14,000 to Rs 30,000, medical allowance from Rs 1000 to Rs 10,000 and Compensatory City Allowance (CCA) from 30,000 to 60,000.
The salary of the MLAs puts an annual burden of Rs 16.7 crore on the State exchequer, in addition to the allowances given to ministers. The order to revise the salaries of MLAs has been implemented from July 8.
As per Economic Survey of 2011, the number of unemployed youth registered in various District Employment and Counseling Centers was 6.01 lakhs. However, officials said the number would have crossed 10 lakh in 2017 as thousands of youth are passing out from different universities of the country and the state every year.
Nearly 2.5 lakh unemployed youth with graduate and postgraduate degrees have registered themselves with the employment cells to seek jobs.
In 2015 General Administration department had to appoint 148 class IV employees among 1.17 lakh aspirants and a majority of them possessed graduate and post-graduate degrees.
“The various schemes launched by the government have proved to be trite. And due to lack of political will, the unemployment rate is increasing while the pockets of MLAs are swelling,” said an engineering student.
Despite, the increasing number of unemployed youth, the State Government scuttled two primary employment generation schemes for youth, rendering the State employment department defunct for past nearly three years.
The government has put on hold Self Employment Scheme (SES) and Voluntary Service Allowance (VSA) since February 2015 under which government was providing financial assistance to unemployed youth for the establishment of business units or monthly wages for rendering 12-hour weekly work in community development programs respectively.
What the legislators are getting presently:
Monthly salary Rs 1,60,000
Telephone allowances Rs 30,000
Medical allowance Rs 10,000
Compensatory City Allowance (CCA) RS 60,000
Travelling allowance Rs 1.5 lakh
Housing loan Rs 20 lakh
Motor Car Advance Rs 10 lakh
‘Sitting’ fee per day Rs 2000