Ministers should forego two months salary to help drought-hit: Patil

Chief Minister shoots down proposal.

Home minister R R Patil urged the government Wednesday to mobilise additional funds for the drought-affected by cutting salaries of ministers and state employees.

CM Prithviraj Chavan rejected the proposal.

At the weekly cabinet meeting, Patil said, "The government cannot withhold funds to the drought-hit citing shortage. We should take measures to raise money. To begin with, we should withhold two months salary of CM, deputy CM and other ministers. Bureaucrats can be asked to forego one-month salary and government employees a day's pay."

He said the alternative should be exercised if Centre was not willing to sanction the amount demanded by the state.

Patil said shortage of funds could not stop aid to the lakhs of people across 15 districts affected by drought. He said the government should also tap industries to raise money.

"If all sectors come forward, raising Rs 1,000 crore will not be difficult." Other ministers in the cabinet ridiculed Patil, calling the suggestion a "political gimmick".

A senior Congress minister said, "Cutting salaries of ministers and bureaucrats will not create funds to pay for water tankers."

Chavan said: "The state has sent a proposal seeking Rs 2,500 crore from the Centre. The proposal is under consideration of the Prime Minister and planning commission. The state has also taken steps to divert some budget for drought relief and rehabilitation."

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