THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A committee appointed to review the salaries and allowances of ministers and MLAs had last year prescribed ceiling for medical reimbursements. This has come to light while Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan has termed as unfortunate the ongoing discussions over the heavy expenses incurred by MLAs, including him, from the exchequer.
According to the Justice J.M. James commission report, the medical reimbursement by MLAs during 2016-17 was Rs. 1. 41 crore and that by ex-members Rs. 1. 84 crore. "There are reported instances of unwholesome medical reimbursement claims," said the report, a copy of which was obtained by Kochi-based lawyer D.B. Binu.
The committee recommended that a medical insurance should be implemented for members and reimbursement for outpatient treatments not covered under the insurance should have a maximum ceiling of Rs. 60,000 per annum. It also recommended that reimbursement for treatments abroad should be allowed only with the approval of the health department. The report is yet to be implemented.
The speaker, who availed of reimbursement of Rs 49,000 for spectacles, said in a statement that he had purchased them as per doctor's prescription. It was unfortunate that the mainstream and social media was depicting personal issues with vulgarity.