India Today
Mohammad Suffian

In view of the price rise, Odisha Assembly members, cutting across party lines, demanded a hike in their salaries on Saturday.

The parties whose legislators demanded the salary hike include those from the ruling BJD, the primary opposition BJP and those from the Congress.

The lawmakers demanded a revision of their remuneration and pension, citing the rising cost of living due to inflation.

Notably, the MLAs currently get almost Rs one 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.

Raising the issue during the Zero hour, Opposition BJP Chief Whip Mohan Majhi pointed out that while costs of most commodities have increased, the salary and allowances of MLAs were last increased on September 23, 2017. He pointed out that, compared to the rising prices, the salary of an MLA is very less.

Mohan Majhi stated the salary of Odisha MLAs is far less compared to many other states and demanded an increase in the salary and travel allowances of MLAs.

Ruling party MLA Amar Prasad Satpathy and Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati were among other MLAs who threw their support behind Mohan Majhi

Satpathy said the demand for a pay hike is justified, since salaries are periodically revised for all sections, keeping in mind the cost of living and considering the pace of rising inflation.

Similarly, Independent legislator from Rayagada Makaranda Muduli has also demanded to raise the salary of MLAs.

Talking to India Today, Senior Journalist and Activist Rabi Das said, "When the prices are going up, inflation is rising and there is huge unemployment, the people who should take responsibility and hold accountability for that are demanding an increase in their own salary."

Likewise, Congress member from Jeypore, Tara Prasad Bahinipati also demanded increasing the salary of MLAs.

Bahinipati said that MLAs have to attend several social functions which entail huge expenses, therefore salaries of MLAs must increase.

Following the demand across party lines, Speaker Bikram Keshari Arukha has requested the government to consider the demand.

Notably, recent research by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has shown, 95 MLAs out of 147 member assembly in the State are Crorepatis, with assets above Rs 1 crore each.

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