While many of these ministers, going by the affidavits they file during elections, own movable and immovable assets worth crores of rupees and love flashing their wealth by acquiring swanky SUVs, it is the state, ranked among the poorer ones, which picks up the tax bill.
The law, Uttar Pradesh Ministers’ Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Act, 1981, was enacted when V P Singh was chief minister. UP has, since then, witnessed 19 chief ministers — including Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party, Mayawati of Bahujan Samaj Party, Kalyan Singh and Rajnath Singh of BJP and Narain Dutt Tewari of Congress — and nearly 1,000 ministers from different parties since then, up to the incumbent CM Yogi Adityanath.
While getting the bill passed by the state assembly then, Singh had told the House that the state government should bear the income tax burden as most ministers were from poor backgrounds and had meagre incomes.
A section of the Act says, “Every minister and minister of state shall be entitled, throughout term of his office, to a salary of one thousand rupees per month. Every deputy minister shall be entitled, throughout the term of his office, to a salary of six hundred and fifty rupees per month.
“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 government.”
Even members of the Yogi government have had their income tax deposited from the state treasury in the last two financial years. This financial year, the income tax bill of Adityanath and his council of ministers was around Rs 86 lakh and was paid from the state treasury.
UP principal secretary (finance) Sanjiv Mittal confirmed to TOI that income tax bills of the CM and his council of ministers were paid by the state government as mandated under the 1981 Act.