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Odisha MLAs across party lines demand salary, pension hike amid inflation

The issue was raised during the Zero Hour by Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra, which was supported by Opposition Chief Whip Mohan Majhi of the BJP and two BJD members

PTI Bhubaneswar Published 15.03.23, 03:36 PM
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Amid rising prices of commodities, legislators of the Odisha Assembly, cutting across party lines, on Wednesday urged Speaker B K Arukha to give a ruling to the government to introduce a Bill in the House for raising the salary and pension of sitting members and ex-MLAs.

The issue was raised during the Zero Hour by Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Narasingha Mishra, which was supported by Opposition Chief Whip Mohan Majhi of the BJP and two BJD members- Amar Prasad Satpathy and Padmanabha Behera.

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A committee headed by BJD MLA Amar Prasad Satpathy has already submitted a report on a proposal to hike the salary and pension of MLAs and ex-legislators, Mishra said, adding that the state government should consider it and table a Bill so that the House can pass it.

He cited the high inflation rate, particularly the increasing price of petrol and diesel, which added to the “hardships of members to perform their responsibilities”.

The travelling allowance of the members should also be raised in view of the price rise of fuel, Mishra said.

According to the existing salary structure, only Rs 5,000 is being provided to appoint an assistant, which is grossly inadequate, he claimed.

"On behalf of all the members, I urge the Speaker to give a ruling to the government to table a Bill in this regard," Mishra said.

Congress whip Taraprasad Bahinipati also made a similar demand.

Opposition Chief Whip Mohan Majhi supported the proposal to introduce a Bill at the earliest as the members and ex-MLAs face difficulties for their day-to-day expenses.

Satpathy said, “I have submitted the report and the Parliamentary Affairs Minister will take a call on the issue as members feel that an increase in salaries is needed.” The Odisha government had raised the salaries of MLAs and ministers by over 50 per cent in 2017.

Meanwhile, sources said that the committee has sent a proposal to the Speaker recommending that an MLA’s salary should be hiked from Rs 1 lakh a month to Rs 2.5 lakh.

Currently, each MLA gets a package of Rs 1 lakh, which includes Rs 35,000 as salary and Rs 65,000 as allowances.

This excludes a daily allowance of Rs 1,500 per day while the House is in session, besides the travel reimbursement for attending the sessions.

Notably, retail inflation dipped marginally to 6.44 per cent in February, mainly on account of a slight easing in prices of food and fuel items though it remained above the Reserve Bank's comfort level of 6 per cent for the second month in a row.

As per the government data released on Monday, the Consumer Price Index (CPI)-based inflation was at 6.52 per cent in January and 6.07 per cent in February 2022.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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