Odisha CM Hails Krishi Rail, Krishi Udan, Rues Poor Allocation For Drinking Water

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Bhubaneswar: Welcoming some of the initiatives of the Centre in the annual budget for 2020-21 fiscal year, presented by the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament on Saturday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed concern that the budget has ignored some major aspects, which will cost Odisha dear.

The Chief Minister, in a statement, said that some of the initiatives incorporated in the Union Budget such as Krishi Rail and Krishi Udan for a seamless national cold supply chain and PM-KUSUM scheme, which will cover 20 lakh farmers for solar pumps are very positive.

He also welcomed the removal of dividend distribution tax and introduction of the concessional component tax. “Odisha had requested for extension of Concessional Tax rates to cooperatives in line with Corporate Tax cuts. We welcome the announcement of Concessional Tax rates for cooperatives,” he pointed out.

The Chief Minister also welcomed the provision to increase the deposit insurance coverage from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh and announcement of the new education policy and foreign direct investment (FDI) in the education sector.

However, he expressed concern over the allocations under the Centrally sponsored schemes, which have been stagnant. “The divisible pool of Central Taxes has shrunk by almost Rs 59,000 crore, which will reduce the share of Odisha by about Rs 3000 crore,” he pointed out.

Stating that the budget has not included any of the archaeological sites of Odisha in the iconic sites to be developed, he said there is no announcement on setting up of a National Tribal Museum, which Odisha deserves.

The Chief Minister also pointed out that though drinking water is a national priority, the budget has a meagre allocation of Rs 11,500 crore nationally against an approved plan of Rs 3.6 lakh crore. Considering that the annual expenditure of Odisha for drinking water is about Rs 3600 crore, the budget provision on this head is like a drop in the ocean.

Maintaining that Sensex is an indicator of investor confidence, he said the drop of almost 1000 points on Saturday shows that there is a huge scope to take a number of measures. “Investor confidence is important for fresh investments to come in, to spur growth, which is the biggest challenge now. This will have a huge impact on job creation and livelihood options for our youth,” the Chief Minister noted.

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