Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, on Thursday, informed the Assembly that the State government had an open mind on the Rajendra Babu Commission report recommending an increase in the salary and allowances of MLAs.

Replying to a short debate on the Payment of Salaries and Allowances (Amendment) Bill, Mr. Chandy said the government had received the report and would take a decision on the recommendations by Monday. Before that, he would hold consultations with the Opposition leaders.

The Bill, moved by Mr. Chandy, seeks to make a minor amendment to Section 8A of the Payment of Salaries and Allowances Act, 1951. According to the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill, under the provisions in sub-section (6) of Section 8A of the 1951 Act, every MLA shall be entitled to the services of an officer of his choice not above the rank of a selection grade assistant in the Secretariat and who is in the service of the government or local authority or any corporation owned or controlled by the government or any authority specified by the government.

The amendment Bill, which was referred to the Subject Committee, seeks to substitute the words “not above the rank of selection grade assistant in Government Secretariat” with the words “other than a member of an all-India Service.”

The Bill, once passed, would enable the MLAs to have the services of any officer from any category of employees of the State Service and subordinate service other than All India Service as personal assistant. In other words, an MLA could have the service of a PA in the rank of Additional Secretary.

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