Uttar Pradesh Ministers Including CM To Start Paying Income Tax, 40-Yr-Old Practice Ends
After witnessing a severe criticism from media, the direction was given by state Finance Minister that the law, enacted in 1981, which ensures that the state's chief minister and ministers do not pay any income tax themselves will be withdrawn.
Announcing the decision, state Finance Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna said the ministers will now pay their own income tax. "As per directions from Adityanathji, all ministers will now pay their own income taxes. He has said that the state will move to end the provision," he said.
The existence of the 40-year-old law came as a shocker to many with some political leaders of the ruling dispensation saying they never knew about the law. According to the UP government officials, the Uttar Pradesh Ministers' Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Act, 1981 provided that the Chief Minister and his council of ministers do not have to pay their income tax.
“The decision has been taken on the directives of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath,” Khanna said. According to reports, the law, enacted when Vishwanath Pratap Singh was the chief minister, has been in force during the terms of 19 CMs and about 1,000 ministers so far.
The chief ministers who saved on their taxes have been from across parties -- including Yogi Adityanath, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati, Kalyan Singh, Ram Prakash Gupta, Rajnath Singh, Sripati Mishra, Vir Bahadur Singh and N D Tiwari.
For the last financial year, the state government paid Rs 86 lakh as the ministers' tax bill, a senior finance ministry official informed news agency PTI. A section of the Act says, "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."
It was argued in 1981 that the state government should bear the income tax burden as most ministers were from poor backgrounds and had meagre incomes, a Congress leader and a colleague of the then chief minister V P Singh said. But over the years, the state has been led by leaders like Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati who is 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.
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