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Delhi politicians double their own salaries

Wage increase comes amid public disgust at perceived corruption in politics
Politician salary hikeEnlarge
Supporters of anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare wave Indian national flags during Hazare's fast at Ramlila Grounds in New Delhi on August 22, 2011. Responding to anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare's call, supporters begun sit-in protest outside residences of their respective MPs across the country. (PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)

The members of the Delhi state assembly voted themselves a 100 percent salary hike this week, ignoring the general loathing for politicians expressed in mass protests led by anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare last month, writes the Times of India.

Even better, the increase does not include enhanced medical benefits and travel allowances which the assemblymen will get over and above their salary, the paper said.

The ministry in charge of such matters had earlier shot down a similar proposal, which sought an 300% hike in salaries. But even this more modest increment caused some concern among the more savvy legislators, who said the pay hike will send the wrong signals to the common people who are reeling under rising prices.

Appearances aside, politicians' salaries -- as opposed to their actual incomes -- are not that large in India. The Delhi assembly members were earlier getting a salary of Rs 22,000 (approximately $500), and will now earn Rs 44,000 (about $1000). Ministers who drew Rs 33,000 ($750) will now get Rs 68,000 ($1500).

As per official filings recorded by the Association for Democratic Reforms -- a non-government watchdog organization -- many of these same politicians hold assets in excess of Rs. 1 crore ($225,000), which makes them India's version of millionaires.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/delhi-politicians-double-their-own-salaries