BHUBANESWAR: The State Government has agreed to participate in aspirational district programme of the Niti Aayog which it had rejected earlier and laid down several conditions including a change of panel of prabhari officers appointed for the backward districts to accept the proposal.
The Government’s change of stand is reported have come after the recent visit of Vice-Chairman of Niti Aayog to Odisha and his meeting with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Besides a change in the panel of ‘prabhari officers’ whom the Centre wants to appoint for backward districts, the Odisha Government wants some new districts to be added to the list.
“Since the State Government was not consulted at the time of finalisation of the list of backward districts, we want Nuapada and Nabarangpur to be added to the list and dropping of Dhenkanal,” Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera told this paper. Besides, the State Government wants restoration of the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) scheme which the Centre had stopped, he said.
Eight districts from Odisha, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Rayagada, Gajapati, Malkangiri, Koraput, Balangir and Dhenkanal, had been identified and listed as backward by the NITI Aayog.Sources said the State Government wants that the prabhari officers appointed by the Niti Aayog should jointly work with the secretaries nominated by it for each of the backward districts. Development Commissioner will be designated as nodal officer and the prabhari officers along with secretary level officers nominated for the districts will make a presentation before the State Level Committee headed by the chief secretary.
The prabhari officers may submit their report to the empowered committee of the secretaries constituted by the Centre in this regard after consultation with the State Government.Besides revival of the BRGF, the State Government has demanded restoration of Central assistance for backward districts in KBK and Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for Left Wing Extremists (LWE) affected districts. Chief Secretary AP Padhi is reported to have written a letter to the Niti Aayog in this regard.
Change in the panel of ‘prabhari officers’ whom the Centre wants to appoint for backward districts
Addition of some new districts to the list
Restoration of the Backward Regions Grant Fund
Restoration of Central assistance for backward districts in KBK and Integrated Action Plan for LWE affected dists
Prabhari officers appointed by the Niti Aayog to jointly work with the secretaries nominated by State Govt
Development Commissioner to be designated as nodal officer