With Punjab Governor Banwari Lal Purohit giving a nod to the gazette notification ‘One MLA, One Pension’ legislation came into effect in the state. Calling the move a historic decision, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, on Saturday, said the legislation will revolutionise the Indian political system.
“It is a humble initiative by the Aam Aadmi party government to realise the dreams of our freedom fighters and national heroes,” Mann said in a statement.
The state government has fulfilled a major promise made to the people of state. He said politics is a service of the people adding that while doing it there is no need for the huge pensions for the MLAs and that too for every term.
The CM said the great freedom fighters had dreamed of a classless democracy where elected representatives will work as the real servants of people and ensure their well being. “But in the last 75 years these elected representatives have turned into political executives by drawing extravagant salaries and pensions from the state exchequer,” he added.
The CM called it a humble tribute from his government to the great freedom fighters and iconic heroes of Indian independence movement who had laid their lives for the nation to create a society based on equality.
Mann said the entire burden of this facility extended to these leaders was met by taxpayers. “Their money was misused to fill the pockets of these leaders instead of being used for public welfare,” he said.
Mann said Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA) have entered politics willingly to serve the people, so they have no moral responsibility to claim multiple pensions in exchange for this service. The Punjab government is expected to save around Rs 100 crore during its current tenure with this historic initiative, added the CM.
State Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema declared, “No more free ki revdi to netas! (no more freebies for political leaders).”
The AAP claimed that the historic decision will put an end to waste of taxpayer’s money that was used by previous governments to fill the pockets of its legislators.
“This decision will save about Rs 100 crore in five years, an amount that will now be used for the welfare of the people” AAP Punjab’s chief spokesperson Malvinder Singh Kang said while addressing a Press conference.
Taking a jibe at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress, Kang said that providing free education and healthcare is not a freebie, but giving favours and waiving loans of corporate friends is certainly ‘ free ki revadi’.
Kang challenged the BJP and the Congress who have their governments in most of the states to implement the same reform.
Meanwhile, AAP leader and Rajya Sabha member Raghav Chadha welcomed the decision, saying, “Previous Punjab Govts with malafide interests drained Govt treasury & filled their own pockets by exploiting ‘One MLA Multiple Pensions’. Losing elections would lead to profits for ex-MLAs! Today Mann Govt introduced ‘One MLA One Pension’ saving crores of rupees of the exchequer,” he said in a tweet.
AAP Rajya Sabha member Sandeep Pathak said people’s money will now be spent on their welfare.