Kerala Local Body Members May Get Big Salary Hike

Members of the local self-government bodies in Kerala are paid a pittance, but this may soon change if government accepts the State Finance Commission’s recommendations. Members’ salaries may be doubled and there may be a 200 percent pay rise for the panchayat presidents and municipal chairpersons soon.

While salaries and perks of members of Parliament and state assemblies are revised at regular intervals, this is not the case with members of local bodies. The fifth state finance commission wants them to get decent wages which also reflects the expenses they incur in their daily activities. Also the panel feels that better pay would lead to an increase in the efficiency of elected representatives in the state.

It is recommended that the salary of panchayat president be increased to Rs 19,000 from Rs 6,600 and that of vice president to Rs 15,900 from Rs 5,300. The members’ salaries may be raised to Rs 7,000 from Rs 3,500.

Presidents of district panchayats may see a hike up to Rs 23,700 from Rs 7,900 while the salary of presidents of block panchayats may increase to Rs 21,900 from Rs 7,300. Corporation mayor may get a salary equal to that of a district panchayat president whereas municipal chairpersons would get a pay similar to that of panchayat presidents.

Salaries of panchayat and block panchayat standing committee chairpersons may be doubled to Rs 8,200 and Rs 8,800 respectively. Their counterparts in district panchayats may see their salaries increase to Rs 9,400 from Rs 4,700 that they presently get.

Another recommendation made by the commission is the separation of central grants from the share of the state government. The fund, at present, is included in the plan fund and would be paid to the local self-government bodies by the state government. The state commission has recommended giving this fund, meant for infrastructure development, directly to local self-government bodies. Central funds are given to gram panchayats and municipal councils.