Members get tablet PCs, iPhones, vouchers and other gifts on the last day of the budget session

The State Assembly might not have transacted business for most part of the 11-day remainder of the budget session but the MLAs and the MLCs got a bonanza on the last day on Friday with each one of them getting a tablet PC, iphone and other gifts.

While the Finance Department is stated to have spent Rs. 1.51 crore on Sony Xperia Z tablet each to 370 legislators, the iphones’ bill was picked up by Information Technology Department. The Industries Department presented a gift voucher of Rs. 7,500 each while the Tribal Welfare Department gave away packets of products of Girijan cooperatives.

All this at a time when the Assembly was in session only for 57 hours and 29 minutes during these 11 days, according to information provided by the Legislature Secretariat. The time wasted accounted for four hours and 42 minutes, TDP leading with two hours, TRS one hour and 37 minutes and YSRCP 46 minutes.

Much of the time of the Assembly was lost in a familiar pattern, coming up with adjournment motions on issues ranging from Telangana to land allotment, every day.

They would be rejected invariably by the Speaker and the agitated members would rush to the Speaker’s podium leading to repeated adjournments and finally to be “adjourned sine die”. Not just the budget for Rs. 1,61,000 crore but even the all important Appropriation Bill was passed without a semblance of debate.

During the budget session in 2011, the lawmakers were given laptops, printers, scanners, iPads and mobile phones. The legislature had then also passed a bill hiking salaries and allowances of the members by about 150 per cent. The monthly pay packet had increased from Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 95,000.