Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Friday met Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram and demanded that the Home Ministry speed up its decision on the draft Bill submitted to it recently for a three-way split of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and also to approve the new salary structure for MLAs and Ministers that had been cleared in February this year.
Ms. Dikshit said she urged the Union Minister to expedite the clearance for the draft Bill so that it could be introduced and passed in the upcoming monsoon session of the Delhi Assembly.
The Delhi Cabinet had earlier in June approved the draft Bill which once approved by the Centre and the Delhi Assembly would replace the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, under which the MCD is administered by the Union Home Ministry.
The draft Bill has proposed setting up of a Delhi Municipal Authority to oversee the functioning of the three new municipal corporations that would divide Delhi into North, South and East for administrative purposes.
While the Delhi Cabinet had in May given its in-principle approval for splitting the MCD, the matter had hung fire for some time as many leaders of the Delhi Congress had opposed the move stating it would weaken the party if the number of wards was also increased simultaneously. Thereafter, it had been decided to only split the MCD – which is due for election early in 2010 – but not to change the number of wards.
Ms. Dikshit said she also raised the issue of increasing the salaries of the MLAs and Ministers with Mr. Chidambaram. “The matter has been pending for the last nearly one year now,” she said.
The Delhi Government had in February this year approved a proposal seeking an up to 300 per cent increase in the salaries of MLAs and Ministers. It was then sent to the MHA for approval. It had had proposed that the salaries of MLAs be increased from about Rs.32,000 per month, including all incentives, to nearly Rs.1 lakh while that of the Ministers be increased from about Rs.43,000 per month to about Rs.1.20 lakh per month.
The Union Home Ministry had in November 2010 rejected a similar proposal stating that Delhi Government was seeking perks and privileges for MLAs which were not even paid to MPs. It is expected that the salary hike, if approved, would put an additional financial burden of Rs.16.21 crore annually on the exchequer.