oppn parties Since When Were Ministers In Any State Government "Poor"?

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  • Citizenship Bill to be tabled in the Lok Sabha today. Heated debate likely
  • Domestic tourism in Kashmir slumps by 87% in August-November period
  • Prime Minister Modi says police must make women feel safe
  • West Indies beat India by 8 wickets in the second T20 at Thiruvananthpuram
  • Rahul Gandhi says the NDA government kept Chidambaram in jail for so many days in order to take revenge
  • Kohli reclaims the top spot in ICC rankings from Steve Smith
  • Cabinet clears the Citizenship Bill. It will be placed in the Lok Sabha in a day or two
  • Hindu Jagran Manch members clash with the police in Kolkata after being refused permission to take out a rally
  • West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar says important files were sent late to him and his delay in signing them draws criticism from the TMC. It also brings the state assembly to a halt
  • 92,000 BSNL & MTNL employees apply for early retirement taking advantage of the new government offer. It will result in an annual savings of Rs 8.700 cr for the merged entity
  • Dengue deaths multiply in Kolkata even as the CM, Mamata Banerjee, asks the opposition not to politicize the matter
  • Government orders inquiry into the breach of security at Priyanka Vadra's house
  • Chennai-based engineer Shanmuga Subramanian helps Nasa find the pieces of Vikram lander on the Moon's surface
  • New Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray says his administration will take back cases against Dalits and activists in the Bhima Koregaon case
  • Dhawan calls his dismissal "nonsense"
43 killed in a fire at units in illegal building in heart of Delhi
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Since When Were Ministers In Any State Government "Poor"?

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

Of all things, even the income tax of the chief minister and his council of ministers in Uttar Pradesh was, till now, being paid by the state government under the 38-year UP Ministers' Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Act, 1981 (UPMSAM Act). Following a report in The Times of India, Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of UP, has directed the state finance minister, Suresh Khanna, to prepare a list of 'archaic' laws, including the UPMSAM Act, to repeal them. It is believed that the controversial provisions of the UPMSAM Act that direct the government to pay the income tax of ministers will be deleted.

The ostensible reason for including the provision in the Act was because ministers were deemed to be "poor". It was not true 38 years ago and it is not true now. Just look at any minister in any state. One can see the trappings of prosperity in their 'designer khadi' clothes, their flashy watches, shoes, shades and SUVs. Scan their election affidavits and find out about their enormous wealth running into crores of rupees, not to speak of their undisclosed and tainted wealth that is hidden from public scrutiny and held as benami.

Even 38 years ago, anyone who was made a minister would have been a politician for a good number of years to bag that position. Any serving politician for any length of time will certainly have more wealth and yearly income than any common taxpayer, either salaried or middle-class businessman, calculated over the same length of time. When the common taxpayer can pay his income tax on his own, why should the state government bear the burden for ministers?

It is all the more surprising that the said provision was enacted when the 'anti-corruption crusader', VP Singh, was the chief minister of UP. It just goes on to show that when it comes to rewarding one's own tribe, even paragons of virtue lose their perspective.

Pic courtesy: infographic from The Times of India