Cabinet commits one-month salary for drought relief

The state cabinet decided Wednesday to commit one-month salary of all ministers for drought relief. The token gesture is likely to generate over Rs 25 lakh.

The state requires well over Rs 2,500 crore to tackle the unprecedented drought. Each of the 40 ministers in the cabinet draws a salary of around Rs 67,000 per month.

Interestingly, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had earlier shot down the proposal. On February 6, during another cabinet meeting, home minister R R Patil had suggested all members as well as MLAs contribute salaries to chief minister relief fund to tackle drought.

After the Chief Minister rejected the proposal, Patil announced he was donating a month's salary.

The Chief Minister taunted him saying people should not uindulge in "cheap publicity".

However, the Patil move set the ball rolling with many ministers and legislators following suit.

The state has so far spent over Rs 800 crore on drought relief in the 1,586 villages facing water shortage. It is seeking an additional Rs 2,500 crore from the Centre. The state is weighed down by a debt of over Rs 2.45 lakh crore and there have been calls for greater fiscal discipline.

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