BHUBANESWAR: The 15th Finance Commission has put the ball in the Centre’s court by saying that the demand by some States for special category status remains entirely in the domain of the Union Government. In its interim report, the Commission said, “Some states have requested the grant of special category status. This does not constitute part of the mandate of the 15th Finance Commission and remains entirely in the domain of the Union Government, which can take an appropriate decision after due consideration. However, the issue of balanced and inclusive development of all States requires a more detailed assessment and will be fully addressed in the final report.”
The Government had requested the Commission during its four-day visit to Odisha in January, 2019 to recommend the funding pattern of 90:10 in centrally sponsored schemes for the State at par with North Eastern and the Western Himalayan States. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had also raised the issue of special category state status for Odisha. Noting that the State’s transformation has been remarkable and growth inclusive, the Chief Minister had said, “Unfortunately, successive Central Governments have ensured that Odisha remains at the bottom in tele-intensity, railway network, banking and highways.”
The State Government had submitted a memorandum to the Commission seeking assistance of Rs 8,24,644 crore for five years beginning from 2020. The Government had also demanded that devolution of Central taxes to the States should be increased from 42 per cent to 50 per cent. Besides, it had projected the requirement of PRIs at Rs 33,574 crore and the ULBs at Rs 20,311 crore.