By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, July 31, 2022: Members of Odisha Legislative Assembly cutting across party lines on Saturday demanded a hike in their salaries in view of the price rise of all essential commodities.

During the Zero hour of the House proceedings, Opposition Chief Whip Mohan Majhi of the BJP pointed out that legislators’ salaries and travel allowance were previously raised on September 13, 2017.

“As there has been a price escalation in the market, the salary of MLAs should also increase accordingly,” he said.

Interestingly, 95 MLAs out of 147 member assembly in the State are Crorepatis, with assets above Rs 1 crore each, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

Congress whip Taraprasad Bahinipati supported the BJP member’s demand and claimed that lawmakers in other states get “much more than the amount received by the Odisha MLAs”.

He also said lawmakers travel a lot to attend various programmes but they receive fewer amounts as compared to such expenses.

Bahinipati stated that the ex-MLAs get only Rs 30,000 as pension which should also be hiked in view of the inflation.

Congress MLA Suresh Routray claimed that the financial condition of former MLAs is “precarious” and many of them are facing “problems in getting proper treatment”.

“The government should consider their concern and also the situation of existing MLAs,” he said.

Claiming that many sitting MLAs also face “financial constraints” but are unable to speak out, ruling BJD member Amar Prasad Satpathy said the salary, travel allowance, pension and medical payment should be increased.

Independent MLA Makaranda Muduli also demanded a hike in the salaries of lawmakers in the state.

Speaker B K Arukha advised the state government to consider their demand.

The state government had raised the salaries of MLAs and ministers by over 50 per cent five years ago, taking the payout for each lawmaker to Rs 1 lakh per month, including Rs 35,000 salary and Rs 65,000 as allowances. However, this excludes daily allowances of Rs 1500 per day while the house is in session, besides travel reimbursement for attending the sessions.

The previous salary revision was done in 2011.

However, the salary of the chief minister and the assembly speaker remained marginally less than Rs 1 lakh.

While the chief minister gets Rs 98,000 per month, the speaker is entitled to get Rs 97,500.

Notably, the Chhattisgarh Assembly on Tuesday passed a set of bills, effecting a hike in salaries of the chief minister, the leader of opposition, ministers and legislators.

Chhattisgarh CM’s salary, post-hike, will go up to Rs 2.05 lakh per month from the existing Rs 1.35 lakh, while the ministers will get Rs 1.90 lakh from Rs 1.30 lakh now.

The Delhi Assembly had on July 4 passed bills pertaining to over 66 per cent hike in salaries and allowances of its members, the first raise in last 11 years for the legislators who were considered the lowest-paid lawmakers in the country.

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