BHUBANESWAR: The subpanel of National Executive Committee (NEC) reportedly met at New Delhi on Wednesday to discuss the report submitted by the Inter-Ministerial Central team which visited the State to take stock of the grim drought situation. However, none from the Odisha Government was invited to the meeting. This is a departure from the last year when both Andhra Pradesh and Odisha were asked to present their views in the meeting after cyclone Hud Hud struck the eastern coast of India. The two States had delivered presentations and placed demands of the respective Governments. However, this year, none from Odisha was invited to be present at the meeting, sources said. Interestingly, the Central team’s report too has not been shared with the State this time, unlike last year. The NEC sub-panel’s recommendations will soon be presented to the High Level Committee which comprises Union Home Secretary, Finance Secretary, Agriculture Secretary and deputy chief of Niti Aayog.
The Ministry of Home Affairs will then take the final call on the assistance to be announced. The State Government had, initially, placed an interim relief of `1687 crore for drought mitigation assistance. Later, an additional assistance of `511 crore was sought. “Last year, Odisha was invited to the NEC panel meeting and the latter was also sympathetic to the concern. Later, the permissible expenditure limit was raised from `125 crore to `131 crore. This year, the State has not been represented at all which is surprising,” the sources added. On Tuesday,the Centre reportedly cleared drought assistance for Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra but bypassed Odisha.