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Last Updated : Sep 18, 2019 06:18 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

State exchequer footing income tax of Uttar Pradesh CM, ministers since 1981: Here's all you need to know

In the current financial year, the income tax bill of Adityanath and his council of ministers was around Rs 86 lakh, which was footed by the state treasury.

Somya Lohia @lohia06
Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha illuminated on the eve of the Independence Day celebrations, in Lucknow on August 13. (Image: PTI)
Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha illuminated on the eve of the Independence Day celebrations, in Lucknow on August 13. (Image: PTI)

The income tax burden of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his Council of Ministers is being borne by the state exchequer.  Not only this, the tax burden of the 19 former chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh and nearly 1,000 ministers has been borne by the state treasury for the last 40 years.

This has been allowed under the Uttar Pradesh Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1981, which deems these ministers to be "poor" and who "cannot pay income tax from their own meagre earnings," The Times of India has reported.

What is this act, and why is it being implemented still, let's find out:

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What is UP Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1981?

The Uttar Pradesh Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1981 was passed by then Chief Minister VP Singh.

According to Section 3, sub-sections 1 and 2, "Every minister and minister of state shall be entitled, throughout the term of his office, to a salary of one thousand rupees per month. Every deputy minister shall be entitled, throughout the term of his office, to a salary of six hundred and fifty rupees per month."

Sub-section 3 of the Section mentioned, “The salary referred to in sub-sections (1) and (2) shall be exclusive of the tax payable in respect of such salary (including perquisites) under any law relating to income tax for the time being in force, and such tax shall be borne by the state government.”

Why this Act?

While presenting the bill in the Uttar Pradesh state assembly,  VP Singh had stated that since the ministers in the state were from poor background and had meagre income, the state government should bear their income tax burden.

Implementation of the Act

The Act has been in practice since 1981. Since then UP has had 19 chief ministers, including incumbent Yogi Adityanath, and over 1,000 minsters.

The members of the Yogi Adityanath government have had their income tax deposited from the state treasury in the last two financial years.

In the current financial year, the income tax bill of Adityanath and his council of ministers was around Rs 86 lakh, which was footed by the state treasury. UP principal secretary (finance) Sanjiv Mittal confirmed this to the publication.

Income and Assets of UP ministers

In 2016, the Akhilesh Yadav-led UP government had approved amendments to the Act and proposed a three-fold increase in the basic salaries of all cabinet and junior ministers, a report by The Times of India has suggested.

According to the report, the amendment entitled the Chief Minister and cabinet ministers to draw a basic salary of Rs 40,000 per month, a Rs 28,000 per month increase over the earlier sum of Rs 12,000 per month. Overall, the amendment allowed the chief minister to take home a salary of Rs. 1.4 lakh per month.

Junior ministers, on the other hand, had become entitled to receive basic salaries of Rs 35,000 per month, up from a monthly sum of Rs 10,000.

The amendment was subject to sanction by the state legislature.

A report published by ADR after the formation of the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh in 2017, stated that of the 44 ministers, 35 are crorepatis. This number accounts for 80 percent of the ministers.

The report also states that the average assets owned by a minister is Rs 5.34 crores, with the lowest declared asset being Rs 38 lakh approximately

Reactions

When asked about the Act, a Congress veteran leader said that though the VP Singh government had enacted the law, the maximum beneficiaries were the non-Congress governments.

"Besides, in the early 80s, political leaders came from poor backgrounds and their salaries were also meagre. The non-Congress governments that came later and raised the salaries of chief ministers and ministers should have repealed the Act," the leader told news agency IANS.

A BJP minister, however, told the news agency that he was not even aware of this perk until now. "I do not have the time to check my accounts but we will see what is to be done now," the minister said.

A Samajwadi Party leader also reiterated that he wasn't aware of this Act until now, the agency reported.

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First Published on Sep 13, 2019 04:29 pm
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