Naveen Patnaik demands special State status for Odisha at Niti Aayog meeting

The chief minister said that the benefit of the effect of increased devolution of central taxes from 32 percent to 42 percent has been largely offset by several policy decisions of the Centre.

Published: 23rd April 2017 08:57 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd April 2017 10:18 PM   |  A+A-

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik (File | PTI)

By Express News Service

BHUBANESHWAR: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday reiterated the demand for special category State status for Odisha at Niti Aayog meeting in New Delhi, stating that several policy decisions of the Centre have largely offset the effect of benefits of increased devolution of central taxes from 32 percent to 42 percent.

Addressing the governing council meeting of Niti Aayog at New Delhi presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the chief minister said Odisha, with a high percentage of its population below poverty line (BPL), and belonging to scheduled tribes (ST) and scheduled castes (SC), deserves the same sharing pattern at par with the North Eastern and Himalayan States.

This demand, he said, is in line with the Punchhi Commission’s recommendations for higher central transfers to backward States to improve their physical and social infrastructure.

The chief minister said several decisions of the Centre, including delinking eight centrally sponsored schemes from central support, discontinuance of special plan for KBK and central assistance to districts under the integrated action plan (IAP), and a steep increase in the State's share of centrally sponsored schemes have nullified the benefits of increased devolution of central taxes.

He said that the State’s geographical vulnerability should be considered while allocating resources, which are damaged in natural disasters every alternate year.

The chief minister said the decision of the GST council to use the proceeds of the clean environment cess for the GST compensation fund meant for all States, is disadvantageous to coal bearing states like Odisha. He demanded that 60 per cent of the cess should be earmarked for coal bearing States.

Stating that low telecom connectivity including lower bandwidth, low financial inclusion and a lower bank credit remain areas of concern, the chief minister said these deficiencies should be addressed adequately to realise the goal of Digital India.

He said implementation of the BharatNet project should be expedited for its implementation in
all gram panchayats for the effective roll out of various schemes under the Digital India programme.

He also demanded setting up of a national task force to ensure mobile and broadband connectivity to deficit areas in Odisha and similar places in other States.

He requested the governing council to advise the ministry of power to adopt SECC-2011 data as has been done for other central schemes, to enable the State to expeditiously provide free electricity to eligible BPL households.

The chief minister demanded that adequate funds be provided in the Central budget for ordinary repair and periodical renewal of national highways.

He said the proposal submitted by the Odisha government for revision of minimum support price on paddy should be approved at the earliest.

Patnaik pointed out that the cost estimates of eight major and medium irrigation projects identified in Odisha under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) have been approved in 2012 with a 20 per cent cost escalation, which will force the State to bear 75 per cent of the project cost instead of the 40 percent envisaged under the scheme.

He said the Lower Suktel and Brahmani Right Projects should also be included under PMKSY.


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