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The corrupt won’t be spared, says Punjab CM Mann. Cites ‘One MLA, one pension’ as example

Under the scheme, MLAs will get pension for only one term, instead of for each term served. The CM has said his govt plans to table a bill on the same in the ongoing budget session.

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New Delhi: Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann Saturday said that those indulging in corruption won’t be spared, while citing the ‘One MLA, one pension’ bill that his government plans to table in the ongoing budget session of the state assembly. 

“Now those who do corruption will not be saved, nor will hollow promises be made,” he said in the House, adding that “corruption-free administration is the focal point” of the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP’s) ideology, according to news agency ANI.

While announcing the ‘One MLA, one pension’ scheme in March, Mann had said that former MLAs will get pension for only one term, doing away with the practice of them drawing the benefit for each term served.

After assuming charge in March, the CM had announced an anti-corruption helpline number to which complaints could be sent via WhatsApp. On 21 June, his office had tweeted that 45 people including government officials had been arrested in corruption cases and 28 FIRs had been registered after “due investigation” of these complaints.

Last month, Mann had sacked state health minister Vijay Singla for allegedly taking a cut in all departmental projects. Singla was arrested by Punjab Police hours later. 

Singla was accused of “demanding a 1 per cent commission for allotting contracts given through tenders and departmental purchases”. In a video message, Mann had stated: “Not even one per cent corruption will be tolerated…The people have voted for an AAP government with a lot of hope, we have to live up to it. As long as mother India has a son like Arvind Kejriwal and a soldier like Bhagwant Mann, the great war against corruption will continue.”

The Punjab cabinet had in May approved amendments to the Punjab State Legislature Members (Pension and Medical Facilities Regulation) Act, 1977, making MLAs only eligible for a single pension, irrespective of the number of terms they had served. 

Currently, over 250 MLAs are withdrawing their pension, and with this move, the government seeks to save crores of rupees annually. 

“Today, we have made another big decision. The pension formula for Punjab’s MLAs will be changed. MLAs will now be eligible for only one pension. Thousands of crores of rupees which were being spent on MLA pensions will now be used to benefit the people of Punjab,” Mann had said in March.

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)

Also Read: Hospitals without doctors, power cuts: In Punjab’s ‘messed-up’ finances, AAP’s big budget test


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