Haryana increases discretionary limit of ministers

Chandigarh, Sep 27  Just days after two of its senior ministers were in the middle of a controversy over huge grants to the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, the Haryana cabinet on Wednesday approved to increase the limit of discretionary grant of ministers in the state. The discretionary grant has been enhanced for Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Assembly. The limit of discretionary grant of Speaker, Haryana Vidhan Sabha and Cabinet Ministers has been increased to Rs seven crore per annum from Rs five crore per annum. The discretionary grant in respect of Deputy Speaker and Ministers of State has been enhanced to Rs 5.5 crore from Rs 4 crore earlier. However, the limit of discretionary grant for Chief Minister will remain same as Rs 40 crore. The increase was approved in the cabinet meeting here held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. "This decision was taken in view the rising cost and to increase the pace of community development works in the state," a state government spokesman said here. Haryana cabinet ministers Anil Vij and Ram Bilas Sharma had announced a grant of Rs 50 lakh and 51 lakh to the controversial sect. Despite criticism, the ministers defended their decision stating that the grant was given to the sect for social and sporting causes.