Hyderabad/Nagpur: It’s apparently getting so tough to make ends meet that Telangana’s elected representatives want a 200% raise. They’ve asked Chief Minister K Chadrasekhar Rao to hike their salaries from Rs. 95,000 a month to three lakhs.
If that rankles those who are not among the 119 state legislators, a laundry-list of reasons for the raise has been supplied: traveling expenses incurred as part of their job, serving on committees, the cost of diesel for their official cars, salaries and meals for aides including their personal assistants and more.
Telangana currently spends about 15 crores a year on salaries for ministers, according to news agency PTI.
India’s youngest state, carved out of Andhra Pradesh in June 2014, owns a savage record of farmer debt and deaths: in the last year, many farmers killed themselves, crushed by the weight of staggering loans and drought.
Late last year, Chief Minister KCR, as he is known, travelled to China in a private jet that cost the state two crores, ensuing in fierce criticism of his lavish spending despite the overwhelming financial distress of farmers.
In December, he held a huge religious ceremony to pray for rain and benevolence from the Gods for farmers. His family had said the ceremony, which reportedly cost seven crores, had been privately funded by the politician’s supporters.