UP Ministers Will Start Paying Their Income Tax after Yogi Cabinet Does Away with Decades-old Law
Finance Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna had recently said ministers will soon start paying their own income tax as decided by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
FIle photo og Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Lucknow: The Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has passed a proposal that made it mandatory for the Uttar Pradesh chief minister and his colleagues to file and pay their own income tax. Since 1981, taxes of state ministers were paid through the public exchequer.
The decision was taken during a Cabinet meeting held on Tuesday during which 20 proposals were cleared. It came a few days after News18 highlighted the four-decade-old practice of the state government paying the income tax of all ministers. This was as per provisions of the UP Ministers' Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Act, 1981.
Recently, Finance Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna had said ministers will soon start paying their own income tax as decided by the chief minister. This one-of-a-kind provision has been in place in the state since 1981, when the Uttar Pradesh Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act was passed by the legislative assembly. VP Singh was the chief minister at the time.
Since then, this provision has been preserved by successive governments. ND Tiwari, Kalyan Singh, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Rajnath Singh, Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav and now Yogi Adityanath: all these chief ministers, and more, as well as their teams have availed this facility. The state has seen around 1,000 ministers benefit from this law for nearly four decades.
For the last financial year, the state government paid Rs 86 lakh as the ministers’ tax bill, a senior finance ministry official said.
“There is an act existing from 1981 during VP Singh's time. Whatever is being done is in pursuance with that Act,” Uttar Pradesh Power Minister Shrikant Sharma had said on Friday, even as he assured that the government would look into suggestions about what could be done about it.
A section of the Act read, “The salary referred to in sub-sections (1) and (2) shall be exclusive of the tax payable in respect of such salary (including perquisites) under any law relating to income tax for the time being in force, and such tax shall be borne by the state.”
A senior government official, who did not wish to be named, said, “The view of the-then chief minister was that most of the ministers came from very humble backgrounds. They had no other means to support them. So, this privilege was extended to them.”
But over the years, the state has been led by leaders like Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati who has assets worth Rs 111 crore as per her affidavit for the Rajya Sabha polls in 2012. Another former chief minister, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, owns assets worth over Rs 37 crore together with his wife Dimple, according to the affidavit filed for the recent Lok Sabha polls.
According to the affidavit submitted for the Legislative Council elections in 2017, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's assets total Rs 95,98,053.
Social activist Anil Kumar said the news was a shocker for the common man who paid large sums in taxes. "Why should he bear the burden of those who have all the benefits. Like all of us, they should also pay for themselves instead of putting an extra burden on us," Kumar asked.
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