Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Friday ordered the state’s ministers to start paying their own income tax, bringing an end to an almost 40-year-old practice of the state government footing the bill, PTI reported.
The Uttar Pradesh Ministers’ Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Act, 1981, mandated that the chief minister and his council of ministers would not need to pay the income tax. In the last financial year, the state exchequer paid the tax department Rs 86 lakh for the purpose, according to PTI.
The announcement came hours after media reports on the matter. Several ministers reportedly claimed that they were unaware of the law.
“There is an act existing from 1981 [passed] during [former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister] VP Singh’s time,” state Power Minister Shrikant Sharma told PTI earlier in the day. “Whatever is being done is in pursuance with that Act. In times to come, we will look into any suggestion about what best can be done in this regard.”
During discussions on the bill in the Assembly, VP Singh had cited the poor financial condition of ministers, who received meagre income, as the rationale for the law, according to The Times of India. It has benefitted 19 chief ministers and almost 1,000 ministers till date, including Adityanath and his predecessors such as Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Kalyan Singh, Ram Prakash Gupta, and Rajnath Singh.
According to affidavits filed during elections, many politicians nowadays are worth crores. In the affidavit submitted before the Legislative Council polls in 2017, Adityanath declared that he possessed assets worth Rs 96 lakh.
Bahujan Samaj Party President Mayawati is worth Rs 111 crore, according to her affidavit filed for Rajya Sabha elections in 2012, while her Samajwadi Party counterpart Akhilesh Yadav and his wife Dimple Yadav possess assets to the tune of over Rs 37 crore. The Yadavs’ declaration was made during this year’s Lok Sabha elections.
“The salaries have gone up several times and there appears to be no relevance for this relaxation,” senior Congress leader PL Punia said earlier in the day. “It needs reconsideration and withdrawal.”
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