Assembly passes Odisha Official Language (Amendment) Bill

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Assembly has passed the Odisha Official Language (Amendment) Bill, 2018 making penal provisions for non-compliance and reward for the extensive use of Odia by state government officials in official communication.

The bill introduced in the assembly yesterday by Parliamentary Affairs Minister B K Arukha was passed by voice vote.

The Assembly also passed the Odisha Shops and Commercial Establishments (Amendment) Bill-2018 to make Odia language mandatory on signboards of all shops and business establishments within Odisha.

Arukha said the Odisha Official Language Act, 1954 was enacted for the adoption of Odia as the language to be used for all or any of the official purposes in the state. The present amendment has been made to the 1954 Act, he said.

“From now onwards government employees will be forced to do official business in Odia language. Employees will get incentives for using Odia in official business. Rules are being worked out over the quantum of penalty for violation,” said government chief whip Amar Prasad Satpathy.

Leader of the Opposition Narasingha Mishra of Congress said, “We welcome the bill (amendment). However, violations and quantum of punishment have not been defined properly.”

BJP member Pradip Purohit said, “The amendment is just a mere eyewash. It would have been better had it been passed after incorporating penal provisions.”

According to the commercial establishment’s bill, all shops and commercial establishments will have to comply with the order within a month of the implementation of the rules or pay fine.

The penalty amount would range between Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000 for the first violation and will be enhanced to Rs 2,000 to Rs 25,000 for the second one.

The state assembly also passed three other bills to enhance the daily allowances of ministers, the speaker and the deputy speaker of the state assembly.

The daily allowance of the Leader of Opposition, chief whip, and deputy chief whip has been increased from Rs 800 to Rs 1,500.

Similarly, the daily allowance of the speaker, deputy speaker and council of ministers was increased from Rs 150 to Rs 800.

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