Patnaik seeks special category for Odisha, Panagariya rejects demand

Bhubaneswar, Jan 9 (IANS) Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday urged Niti Aayog vice-chairman Aravind Panagariya to make a special consideration for granting special category status to Odisha, but the request was rejected.

Holding a meeting with Panagariya here, Patnaik said demands have been raised by the state government several times for declaring Odisha as a special category state but they have not been favourably considered.

“All the criteria for special category state are fulfilled by Odisha state except international boundaries. A special dispensation should be made in case of Odisha in this regard,” he said.

However, Panagriya said there is no relevance of granting special category status to Odisha as the finance commission has subsumed grants in the division of resources between centre and states.

“The way the 14th Finance Commission has approached the finances now, there is no relevance of the SCS within that context. The grants to be associated with SCS have already been subsumed in the division of resources by the FC itself between the states and the centre,” he told reporters.

He also denied the allegation of the state government that it bears a loss of Rs.1,776.31 crore due to the finance commission recommendations.

During the meeting, Patnaik raised the issue of delinking of several centrally funded social programmes like the Special Plan for KBK Districts, Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) and Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for Left Wing Extremism-affected districts and sought they be restored as it will otherwise “seriously affect the development programmes” in these area.

He said though there has been increase in devolution of central taxes from 32 percent to 42 percent for Odisha, there would be a net loss in central fund flow to the tune of Rs.1,776.31 crore during 2015-16.

In order to enable the state government to go for a realistic budget, there should be a single window system for communication of annual allocation and sharing pattern of CSS to the state sufficiently in advance, preferably by mid-December of the preceding financial year, he added.

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