The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Friday demanded immediate revision of the criteria for determining backwardness of States and declare Odisha as a Special Category State (SCS).
In a memorandum to Governor S C Jamir, the BJD criticised the Centre for announcing the rejection of the demand of Odisha even before the committee, set up to determine the criteria for poverty and backwardness of States, headed by Raghuram Rajan, chief economic adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has submitted its report.
The existing criteria, laid down by the Centre for conferment of SCS, were stipulated long back and now require revision to take care of persisting regional imbalances in the country as in the case of backward States like Odisha, the memorandum said and added that this was recognised by Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who announced to evolve new criteria in his budget speech last year.
Alleging that the genuine development requirements of Odisha have been ignored by successive governments at the Centre, the memorandum maintained that the State now has a small rail network with a track density of 15.03 route km per 1,000 sq km compared to the national average of 19.22 route km, 43.4 route km for West Bengal and 35.9 route km for Bihar.
Despite making rapid progress on several fronts, Odisha still does not fare well when compared to the national average in many socio-economic indicators such as per capita income, poverty ratio, infant mortality ratio and maternal mortality ratio, it said.
The memorandum maintained that conferment of SCS status will make available additional funds for development of infrastructure and funding of the social security schemes of the State Government.
Several ministers and MLAs were signatories to the memorandum.
■ The existing criteria, laid down by the Centre for conferment of SCS, were stipulated long back
■ They now require revision to take care of persisting regional imbalances in the country