Guvs seek to double Raj Bhavan budget.
In response to a right to information (RTI) application filed by MAIL TODAY, the MHA has revealed that the revision of expenditure ceilings for Raj Bhavans is now under the "active consideration" of the government. The MHA has provided 108 pages of documents under the RTI, including letters received by the MHA from the offices of the governors across India.
To satisfy the demands made in these letters, the ministry will need to double its total existing annual expenditure ceiling of `12.5 crore to nearly `25 crore for all Raj Bhavans.
Among all the Raj Bhavans, Maharashtra has cited inflation to seek the fattest increase.
It wants the annual expenditure ceiling to be tripled from `1.5. crore to `4.6 crore. If its plea is accepted, the Raj Bhavan in Maharashtra will be the costliest to maintain in the country along with the Tamil Nadu governor's house which has asked for a similar hike.
The increase in prices of basic food commodities and petrol, more expensive air travel as well as the steep maintenance cost of the sprawling lawns are the three reasons given by the Rajasthan Raj Bhavan for an increase of over 200% in its expenditure budget. While it has sought a budget allocation of ` 1.13 crore from the Centre, the governor's houses in Gujarat and Karnataka are looking for a 150% hike to take their expenditure ceiling to ` 1.07 crore and ` 1.12 crore, respectively.
The Raj Bhavan in Gujarat has even suggested that the MHA do away with ceilings altogether. " Having regard to the position of governor as the constitutional head of the state, it may be appropriate for the Centre to leave the matter of propriety of expenditure to his prudent judgment... Ceilings serve as restricting normsC* affecting the governors' convenience and dignity in performing his duties," the letter by the Gujarat Raj Bhavan to the MHA stated.
The MHA began fixing expenditure ceilings for Raj Bhavans since 1987. The amount is charged from the consolidated fund of the respective state governments.
The MHA last revised this ceiling in 2006. The governor's house of Sikkim is the only one not to ask for a raise.
The Maharashtra Raj Bhavan has written to the MHA that while the emoluments of a governor have seen a 2000% increase since 1987 and that of a clerk have gone up by 778% in the same period, the hike in expenditure ceiling for the Raj Bhavans has been merely 79%. " The prices of commodities and services such as such as the Mumbai- Delhi airfare, electricity, petrol, water, foodstuff, telephone services, soil and manure have increased manifold," the letter to the MHA by the Maharashtra governor's secretary stated.
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