Even as Opposition Congress charged the State Government for its failure to arrest regional imbalance, Planning and Coordination Minister Maheswar Mohanty on Saturday claimed that the State is on high growth trajectory despite global recession.
“As per the advance estimates for 2012-13, the growth rate is likely to be 9.14 per cent over 2011-12,” the Minister said while replying to the demand discussion of Planning and Coordination Department.
The estimated growth is expected to be 16.11 per cent in agriculture sector, 10.09 per cent in service sector and 2.54 per cent in industrial sector, Mohanty said.
Claiming that the standard of living in the State has improved over the years, the Minister said the annual per capita income has increased from ` 14,263 in 2000-01 to ` 24,134 in 2011-12 at 2004-05 prices.
The State has recorded highest poverty reduction of 20.2 percentage point from 57.2 per cent in 2004-05 to 37 per cent in 2009-10 as per the Tendulkar committee method.
“The Government is aggressively pursuing an appropriate development agenda for the State. Our development strategies are in line with the mandate given by the National Development Council for the 12th Plan period,” the Minister said.
Government has relaxed the minimum cost norm of the Special Development Fund (SDF) launched in the current financial year for improvement of specified infrastructure in each Assembly constituency. Of ` 50 lakh sanctioned per constituency, infrastructure project worth less than ` five lakh can be taken up, added Mohanty.
The Government is providing an annual grant of ` 100 crore to the Western Odisha Development Council (WODC) to remove regional imbalance. Assistance of ` 883 crore has been provided to WODC since its launch.
Besides, the Government has lifted the restriction on utilisation of MLA’s local area development fund of ` 25 lakh out of the annual entitlement of ` one crore.
Initiating the debate on the demand discussion, Santosh Singh Saluja launched frontal attack on the Government saying that it has failed to address the core issue of regional imbalance even after 13 years.
Alleging that funds allocated under different schemes are not reaching the people of the undivided KBK districts, Saluja said most of the expert members in WODC are corrupt and are taking percentage on all projects sanctioned by the Council.
The department budget was passed amid Congress walkout.