As per an India Today report, the Congress government in Karnataka under Siddaramaiah, which was ousted from power earlier this year, spent Rs. 36 crores on phone bills of MLAs and MLCs during its rule, an RTI has revealed. Each of the 224 MLAs and 75 MLCs received Rs. 20,000 per month as phone allowance.
“You can get unlimited calling for Rs 500 for three months too, certain plans are there. Why are MLAs and MLCs getting paid so much? It’s taxpayers’ money being wasted,” the report quoted RTI activist Bhimappa Gadad as saying.
Current Cooperation minister in H.D. Kumaraswamy’s Karnataka cabinet, Bandeappa Kashempur was also reported to be in agreement with the assertion that the government was paying too much for phone bills. “I agree that government is paying too much money. I pay around Rs 1000 per month on my phone. If the government agrees to cut the allowance I welcome it and it should be done,” he is reported to have said.
The Siddaramaiah government had hiked the phone allowance for MLAs and MLCs from 15,000 rupees to 20,000 rupees in 2015 as part of a larger salary hike for Karnataka legislators.
Recently, it was revealed that the state hospitality department splurged 42 lakh rupees to host political leaders during the swearing-in ceremony of H.D. Kumaraswamy. It has been a general trend of Indian politics that taxpayers have to bear the brunt of politicians wasting money on luxuries.