By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, September 6, 2018: The state assembly on Thursday passed a resolution to set up the legislative council or Vidhan Parishad in Odisha amid protests by Congress and BJP members.

The opposition members staged walkout opposing the resolution.

The resolution was supported by 104 members out of 147 legislators including chief minister Naveen Patnaik.

“Odisha has picked up growth momentum. To further accelerate growth wider consultations are necessary. In this context, the legislative council will be of great help,” Patnaik told reporters after the resolution was passed.

Parliamentary affairs Bikram Keshari Arukh introduced the resolution stating that it was a longstanding demand of the state.

There is a need to have a Vidhan Parishad in Odisha for extensive discussion and wider consultation on some crucial issues pertaining to the state. Also, bills which are passed in the state assembly can have elaborate discussions in the upper house,” Arukh said.

Now, the union cabinet needs to clear the resolution following which it will be tabled in both houses of the Parliament. Thereafter, presidential assent is required to make it an act.

Both the Congress and BJP members opposed the move saying that the proposed legislative council will have an extra financial burden on the state exchequer. It will have an additional financial burden of Rs 35 crore every year towards salary and establishment expenses of members.

The proposed Vidhan Parishad in Odisha will have 49 members i.e one-third size of the assembly.

The state government plans to function the legislative council from the old assembly building while the existing assembly secretariat will cater to its administrative needs.

While 16 members will be elected by the MLAs; the Zilla Parishad, panchayat samitis and urban local bodies would elect a similar number of members. Four each of the members will be elected from among electoral rolls to be prepared to comprise teachers and graduates respectively. Similarly, nine members will be nominated by the governors.

Like Rajya Sabha, there will be no reservation of seats based on caste, tribe or gender. While 30 years will be the minimum age limit to be elected to the Vidhan Parishad, the tenure of a member will be six years. The members would enjoy salary and perks at par with the MLAs.

At present, seven states–Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bihar, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh have bicameral houses.

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