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Staff size, heritage value: How the allowances of Governors are decided (Relevant for GS Prelims, GS Mains Paper II; Polity & Governance)

Just ahead of last week’s Governors’ conference in New Delhi, the Union Home Ministry raised the allowance that covers a Governor’s expenses on tours, hospitality, entertainment, furnishings and maintenance. This allowance is separate from the Governor’s salary (which was raised to Rs 3.5 lakh per month in February) — and Governors of all states except Jammu and Kashmir are entitled to it.

Law on allowances

The Governor’s post comes with much ceremonial pomp and a grand home in the state capital. The perks of the job are regulated by The Governors (Emoluments, Allowances and Privileges) Act, 1982, and the amendments carried out in 1987, 2014, 2015 and 2018. A Home Ministry notification in 1987 said that “if, when the Governor assumes office, the period which has elapsed since his predecessor assumed office… falls short of five years, the maximum amount so specified shall be decreased by such amount as the President may by order determine”.

Who decides Governors’ allowances?

Governors’ allowances are decided by the Home Ministry in consultation with the President’s Secretariat. Issues related to administration and functioning of Governors’ offices are taken up during the annual two-day Governor’s conference, which is organised by the President and attended by the Prime Minister. Demands made by Governors’ offices are considered before deciding the allowance. Before now, allowances were revised in 2011.

Who gets what, why

Because not all Raj Bhavans are the same, the allowances of Governors, too, differ. A senior Home Ministry official said: “The difference in allowance for Raj Bhavans is due to a combination of several factors, including the area, the staff employed and the heritage value (of the building). Some Raj Bhavans like the ones in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu are heritage properties, and it costs more to maintain them….”

Example

The Governor of West Bengal will get Rs 1.81 crore annually — the most among all Governors — as allowances for tours, hospitality, entertainment and other expenses. In addition, he will be entitled to Rs 8 lakh for renewal of furnishings, and Rs 72.06 lakh each year for the maintenance of the two Raj Bhavans in Kolkata and Darjeeling, and the Flagstaff House in Barrackpore. The Kolkata Raj Bhavan, built between 1799 and 1803, is a heritage building whose grounds sprawl over 27 acres in the heart of the city. The building itself has 84,000 sq ft of floor space and a staff of nearly 950 personnel.

(Adapted from the Indian express)



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