Odisha CM Laments Historic Central Neglect

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Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday reiterated the demand of according special category status to Odisha and a special disaster management package of Rs 1500 crore, as he blamed the unimpressive socio-economic parameters of the State to the “historic neglect” by successive central governments.

Even as the pace of transformation has been remarkable in recent past with inclusive growth, he said the neglect has not helped the State to go up the ladder.

“Unfortunately, successive central government have ensured that Odisha remains at the bottom in tele-intensity, railway network, banking, highways, compounded by neglect in industrial corridor, coal royalty, drinking water and irrigation and cutting off funds for Scheduled Areas and KBK. Added to this, is the fact that Odisha faces natural calamities every alternate year,”.

“It is in this premise of historic Central neglect and frequent natural calamities that my Government has been demanding Special Category Status for Odisha which will supplement our efforts in transforming the State,” the Chief Minister said in his address during the meeting of the 15th Finance Commission here.

Some of the major suggestions put forward by the CM before the Commission:
1. Increasing tax devolution from 42% to 50%
2. Making cess and surcharges as part of divisible pool
3. Use of 1971 population as devolution criteria
4. Extension of GST compensation for another 10 years
5. Clean Energy Cess to be spent in Coal Mining Areas.
We have submitted a detailed memorandum to the Commission. I am hopeful that the Commission will incorporate all our suggestions and aid in the rapid progress of Odisha.

Special Request – Package for Disaster Management
At least Rs.1,500 crores for our initiatives to built more Cyclone Shelters and improve our Warning Systems.

The Finance Commission is a unique Constitutional authority, with the mandate for making recommendations to the Union Government on the principles of revenue sharing.

Stating that Odisha is on the path of steady economic growth, Naveen said Odisha registered an annual growth rate of about 10 percent in 2016-17 and above 6.5 percent in 2017-2018.

Listing out programmes and policies rolled out by his government since it came to power in 2000, he said that “from a State not known for efficient handling of natural disasters leading to loss of thousands of precious lives we are now recognised to have set global benchmark in disaster management”.

He said Odisha is playing a major role in food security for the nation. “From a food grain -deficit State dependent on the Central pool to feed its people to have become the third largest contributor to the PDS…,” he said.

The State has also achieved the highest poverty reduction rate in the country that is 24.61 percentage points decline with 80 lakh persons coming out of poverty in the last decade, he said.

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