Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has sought the intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in taking expeditious steps for according Special Category State (SCS) status to Odisha.
The Chief Minister in the letter has stated that Odisha faces several serious development challenges and continues to be backward.
Stating that its resources need are huge and cannot be met by its own efforts, Naveen said declaring Odisha as SCS would help it in availing adequate resources from the Centre to expedite and accelerate development process and address the special needs.He said he had requested the Centre to revisit and redefine the criteria for according SCS status to less developed states like Odisha. The Odisha Assembly had passed a unanimous resolution on April 4 to urge the Centre to declare Odisha as SCS, he added.
Referring to the letter of Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission MS Ahluwalia on May 7, in which he had said that Odisha does not meet the criteria for SCS, the Chief Minister said this interpretation of criteria appeared to be superficial and fails to take a holistic view of the matter, denying what is rightfully due to the State.
Naveen said though Odisha has made significant efforts in reducing poverty by 24.6 percentage points between 2004-05 and 2011-12, it is still sixth highest in terms of incidence of poverty in 2011-12.
Stating that Odisha’s per capita income is only about 67 per cent of the national average, he said nine SCS States have much lower poverty level than Odisha and eight of them have much higher per capita income than Odisha. These eight SCS States have higher literacy rate than Odisha, he added.