In the wake of resource crunch caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Karnataka Assembly on Monday passed a bill to cut the salaries of its legislators, including the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and ministers, by 30%. Most of the legislators from the ruling and Opposition parties gave their consent with an oblique resistance.
Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy proposed the Karnataka Salaries and Allowances of Members, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly (Amendment Bill), 2020 on Tuesday, the second day of the six-day monsoon session.
According to provisions of the bill, there will be a salary cut of 30% of all the legislators for a period of one year starting April 1. The objective of the bill is to utilise the savings to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
The Amendment Bill proposes a 30% salary cut for state Assembly members, including the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, ministers, and the Leader of Opposition.
While extending his support for the bill, senior Congress leader HK Patil said that it could have been more comprehensive had the state government included high court judges, bureaucrats and other stakeholders too.
He quickly added that the Congress has been supporting the bill right from the start, but "we also suggest and recommend the state government to practice austerity measures in other quarters also".
"We suggest the government should curb their extravagant splurging of public money in celebrations and events," he said.
The six-day monsoon session of the Karnataka Assembly began on Monday. Due to the pandemic, the House has been allowed to function without any public spectators. Around 32 bills will be tabled in the House during this session.
Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who is the Leader of Opposition, had initially sought an extension of the monsoon session to debate contentious legislations.