Despite Delhi MLAs being entitled to free medical treatment in all government-run hospitals and their empanelled or referral hospitals, many of them claimed medical reimbursement in the past five years, an RTI reply by the State Government has revealed.
These medical claims were “alarmingly high,” according to RTI activist Subhash Agrawal.
Topping the list of legislators claiming medical reimbursement is Congress MLA from Rohtas Nagar, Vipin Sharma, who claimed Rs 1.32 crore.
Mr. Sharma is closely followed by independent MLA from Najafgarh, Bharat Singh, who claimed Rs 27.5 lakh and the BJP MLA from Hari Nagar, Harsharan Singh Balli with Rs 17.4 lakh, the RTI revealed.
The lowest amount claimed is by Congress MLA from Chandni Chowk, Prahlad Singh Sawhney, who claimed Rs.8,182.
Among those with the least claims are Congress MLA from Kalkaji, Subhash Chopra, who raised medical bills of Rs 9,848, and BJP MLA Jai Bhagwan Aggarwal, who claimed only Rs 15,121.
The total amount claimed by 43 outgoing MLAs as medical reimbursements is about Rs 2.61 crore, according to the RTI reply.
“The big question is how and why medical allowances are being given to members of the Delhi Legislative Assembly. All MLAs should take medi-claim policies from their normal big package of salary and daily allowances,” Mr. Agrawal said.
Mr. Agrawal said the abnormally high medical allowances claimed by the MLAs were in addition to the hefty salary and daily allowances they get.
Suggesting that public representatives should get themselves treated at government hospitals, Mr. Agrawal said: “If the MLAs go to government hospitals for personal treatment, it will improve their overall condition and services.”
As for travel expenses claimed by the outgoing Delhi MLAs, BJP MLA from Shakur Basti Shyam Lal Garg has made the highest claim of Rs 3.87 lakh during the past five years. The lowest travel claim of Rs 17,682 was by the Congress MLA from Rajouri Garden, Dayanand Chandila.
Mr. Agrawal wondered why travel allowances running into lakhs of rupees were being given to MLAs while their field of operation was limited to Delhi.
Talking about the possibility of travel allowance being misused on the pretext of “study trips,” he demanded that “all relevant details of trips and travel allowances of MLAs should be put on website in accordance with the Department of Personnel and Training circulars.”
Making such details public can act as a deterrent to misuse of the public exchequer, Mr. Agrawal added.