MLAs turn deaf ear to income tax appeal by CM

An appeal by Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh months ago urging MLAs to pay their own income tax on monthly salary seems to have fallen on deaf ears, at least so far.

Barring one MLA of the Congress, Kuljit Nagra, none of the other MLAs across party lines has given in writing to the government on paying income on their own. Over 86% of Punjab MLAs are millionaires.

For decades, the income tax of all the MLAs, including the chief minister on account of their salary and emoluments is paid by the government. Kuljit Nagra is the lone MLA who has formally written to the Vidhan Sabha stating that he will be paying his income tax on salary on his own.

The tax exemption to Punjab legislators was discontinued as the state government a few months ago approved amendments in the act that provided tax exemption to its MLAs and ministers. The decision was intended to provide relief to the state coffers reeling under colossal debt.

The Punjab government pays a whopping Rs 11.08 crore as income tax of its MLAs. Out of this, Rs 10.72 crore is the tax paid for MLAs, while the remaining is that paid for ministers. The intent behind the initiative by the government was to mop up every resource that could add to the government coffers.

The millionaires club of Punjab MLAs has both Opposition and ruling Congress MLAs. All the SAD-BJP legislators are crorepatis. As many as 67 of the 77 Congress MLAs too are millionaires. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has 40% of its 20 MLAs as crorepatis in the Punjab assembly.




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