Odisha Assembly members sought a raise in their salary on Saturday in response to the price increase. The principal opposition BJP, the Congress, and the government BJD are the parties whose MPs requested the pay increase.
Notably, MLAs now receive close to Rs 1 lakh per month in compensation, which includes a Rs 35,000 salary and a Rs 65,000 allowance. However, this does not include travel reimbursement for attending the proceedings or daily allowances of Rs 1500 when the house is in session.
Opposition BJP Chief Whip Mohan Majhi brought up the matter during the Zero hour, pointing out that while the prices of the majority of goods have gone up, the MLAs’ salaries and benefits were last raised in September 23, 2017. He emphasised that an MLA’s remuneration is extremely low when compared to the growing cost of goods.
Mohan Majhi said that compared to many other states, the remuneration of Odisha’s legislators is much lower and called for an increase in their pay and travel benefits. Other MLAs who backed Mohan Majhi were Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati and Amar Prasad Satpathy of the ruling party.
Since salaries are frequently updated for all groups, taking into account the cost of living and the rate of growing inflation, Satpathy said the desire for a pay raise is justified.
Similar to this, Independent Rayagada member Makaranda Muduli has also called for an increase in MLA salaries. 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’.
Tara Prasad Bahinipati, a Congressman from Jeypore, wanted an increase in the MLAs’ pay as well. According to Bahinipati, since MLAs must attend numerous social events that incur significant costs, their wages must rise.
Following the demand across party lines, Speaker Bikram Keshari Arukha has requested the government to consider the demand.
Notably, a recent study by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has revealed that 95 MLAs out of the 147 members of the State’s parliament are crorepatis, having assets worth more than Rs 1 crore each.