The Budget has opened avenues to redefine backward areas like Odisha’s KBK (Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput) region.
During his Budget speech, Finance Minister P Chidambaram pointed out that over the last few decades, the parameters of announcing a region backward largely related to terrain, density of population and length of international border.
However, a new mechanism, he said, would be put in place. ‘’It may be more relevant to use a measure like the distance of the State from the national average under criteria such as per capita income, literacy and other human development indicators. I propose to evolve new criteria and reflect them in future planning and devolution of funds’’, the Finance Minister said.
KBK has been receiving funds mainly under the Integrated Action Plan, but it has led to several loopholes in the implementation system often triggering a face-off between the State and the Centre.
‘’The Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) is a vital source of gap funding. I propose to allocate Rs 11,500 cr in 2013-14 as well as another sum of Rs 1,000 cr for LWE-affected districts. BRGF will include a State component for Bihar, the Bundelkand region, West Bengal, the KBK districts of Odisha and the 82 districts under the Integrated Action Plan’’, Chidambaram said.