BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Government on Wednesday demanded hike in tax devolution from 42 per cent to 50 per cent and extension of GST compensation for 10 more years before the 15th Finance Commission.
Chairman of the Finance Commission NK Singh and member Anoop Singh are on a visit to Odisha to hold a discussion with the State Government on the finances and requirements. Reiterating his demand of Special Category Status for Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the State has been a victim of historic Central neglect and frequent natural calamities.
He urged the Commission to use 1971 population as devolution criteria and allow spending of clean energy cess in coal mining areas besides making cess and surcharges as part of the divisible poll. Stating that the economy of Odisha is on a path of steady growth, Naveen said against all odds, the State has registered reasonable growth performance in recent years with annual growth of about 10 per cent in 2016-17 and above 6.5 per cent in 2017-2018.
The Chief Minister presented Odisha's transformation since 2000 before the Finance Commission. From a State not known for efficient handling of natural disasters leading to loss of thousands of precious lives, it is now recognised to have set the global benchmark in disaster management, he said.
"Odisha has become an agriculturally progressive State and won the Krishi Karman award five times in the last seven years. It is the only State to have doubled farmers' incomes in the last one decade and the third largest contributor to the PDS playing a major role in the food security of the nation," Naveen claimed.
In health indicators, he said, the State has achieved the sharpest decline in the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) becoming better than the national average. The State has its own Food Security Scheme that ensures every deserving family is covered and the unique health assurance scheme Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) provides near-universal health coverage, he maintained.
The Chief Minister said Odisha leads the country in providing land rights to the forest dwellers and has achieved one of the highest industrial growth rates in the country besides successfully creating 'Skilled in Odisha' as a global brand and transforming the socio-economic landscape with the help of 70 lakh women through Mission Shakti movement.
Asserting that Bhubaneswar topped the Smart City challenge and Odisha has emerged as the Sports Capital of the country, Naveen said the pace of transformation has been remarkable and growth has been inclusive. "But unfortunately successive Central Government have ensured that Odisha remains at the bottom in tele-intensity, railway network, banking and highways compounded by neglect in industrial corridor, coal royalty, drinking water and irrigation apart from cutting off funds for scheduled areas and KBK," he pointed out. The CM urged the Finance Commission to incorporate all suggestions of the State Government and aid in the rapid progress of Odisha.