Mahatma Gandhi on Salary of M.L.A


Salary of M.L.A

Q. The monthly salary of an M.L.A is Rs.200. He is a mofussil member and, as such, is entitled to a daily allowance of Rs. 15 when the assembly is in session. Besides that, he may draw a conveyance of Rs. 2/8/- for any day on which he attends the meeting of the assembly. Moreover, he is entitled to “traveling allowance” for his journey from the usual place of residence to the city at the rate of one and a half times first class fare but he cannot draw ‘traveling allowance’ and ‘daily allowance’ for the same day. 

1. (a) Should such a person as a representative and servant of the poor draw the salary?
(b) Would he be absolved from the wrong if he gave the whole about to the local Congress Committee or the institution under which he is working for constructive work?
(c) If so, would it not mean that the end justifies the mean?
2. He will have to live in the city when the assembly is in session and has to incur some other expenditure for discharging his duties and responsibilities as an M.L.A. 
(a) IN the circumstances, may be, consistently with his ideal, spend the daily allowance to meet the expenses?
(b) If so, and if it be not permissible to draw the whole of it and give the balance to the institution under which he is working? 
(c) In that case, may he, consistently with his ideal spend the balance or part thereof for his family, which will have otherwise to depend upon the charity of friends to make the two ends meet? 
3. (a) Should he avail of costly conveyance (meant for his conveyance inside the city for attending meetings) when the daily allowance will be more than sufficient to cover all his expenses including the conveyance?
(b) Should he avail of costly conveyance for attending meetings, if usually travels in tram cars and buses? 

A- In my opinion, the salary and allowances drawn by the gentlemen of the various assemblies are out of proportion to the services they render to the country. The scales fixes are on the English pattern, not compatible with the income of this country- the poorest in the world. Therefore, the answer I suggested is that the Ministers should, with the consent of the assemblies, reduce the whole scale in accordance to the requirements and, in the meantime, either the amount taken should be handed o the party to which the member belongs, drawing what his the party has fixed or, if that be not possible , drawing what his conscience thinks just for himself and his family and devoting the balance to some item of the constructive programme or some public activity. The money allowed has to be drawn but nobody is obliged to use it for oneself except needed. No question here arises of end justifying the means.

Mahatma Gandhi. Harijan. 2 June 1946.

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