UP MLAs can buy Rs 20-lakh car with development fund
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Budget Session Akhilesh's 'gift' draws criticism from the Opposition
Uttar Pradesh MLAs and MLCs can now spend up to Rs 20 lakh from their local area development fund to buy a vehicle for personal use. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav cleared this on the last day of the budget session today, drawing criticism from the Opposition, including the BJP, BSP, Congress and RLD.
This would help legislators travel and stay connected with people, Yadav said. While the vehicles would initially be government property, the legislators can buy these after five years after paying the depreciated value.
The Opposition said using development funds for legislators' "personal comfort" would send the wrong message. The BJP, BSP and RLD declared that their MLAs would not use the funds to buy vehicles.
However the CM brushed aside the objections, calling the scheme optional. "It is not a compulsion on anyone. Those who need it can buy, others can use the fund for development. The idea is to provide mobility to MLAs. There are many among them who can't buy a vehicle," he argued, while speaking on the Finance Bill.
The CM also accepted a suggestion from Pramod Tiwari of the Congress to raise the the MLA fund by Rs 25 lakh to Rs 1.5 crore every year. The same had been promised by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav as chief minister in 2007.
The House later passed the Finance Bill, and adjourned sine die.
It was Hukum Singh, leader of the BJP Legislature Party, who first protested against the CM's announcement, saying the fund was meant for a particular purpose.
"I am sorry to say this, but your announcement will send a wrong message. Even if we buy a vehicle with our own money, people may think we have bought it with the development fund meant for them. I request you to reconsider this decision" said Hukum Singh.
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