Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik has greeted Finance Minister P Chidambaram for Centre’s decision to amend the criteria for special category status to states which he said will help Odisha to be categorised as one in the near future.
In a letter to the Finance Minister, Patnaik said, the Chief Minister of Bihar had already welcomed the Budget proposal by going above partisan consideration. “I wish Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is above the partisan politics and will welcome the Union Budget 2013,” he said.
The Congress MLAS will bring in a proposal in the State Assembly to pass a thanks resolution for this initiative, the OPCC chief said. The measure would immensely benefit Odisha which has languished at the bottom of the human development index, Patnaik said adding he hoped the Centre would take the next logical step and declare Odisha as special category state.
Lauding the Budget 2013-14, the OPCC president also welcomed the Rs 11,500 crore grant for Backward Regions Grant Fund which includes KBK region and the Rs 1,000 crore for the Left Wing Extremist districts under the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) that covers 20 districts. This funding through BRGF and IAP should be utilised by the State Government fully unlike in previous years when the funds could not be spent.
“We are assured that if the State Government asks for more funds you have agreed to consider it. The onus is now on the State Government to utilise the Central funds better and fully,” Patnaik’s letter stated.
The State Congress chief said, the General Budget is historic and village-centric and will give a huge push to rural economy, farmers and the poor of the country.