Odisha CM seeks special dispensation from Centre

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As Odisha is facing natural calamities repeatedly, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has demanded special dispensation from the Central government to help his state to catch up with the frontline states.

Patnaik has raised this demand during his interaction with Niti Aayog Vice Chairman (VC) Rajiv Kumar and his team through virtual mode, here on Wednesday. The Niti Aayog team is in Odisha to hold discussions with the state government over a range of issues.

“The state is burdened with infrastructural gaps and vulnerability to recurring natural calamities. This requires a special dispensation from the Central government to help the state to catch up with the frontline states,” the Chief Minister said at the meeting.

Patnaik said that Odisha has made substantial improvement in the last two decades both in macroeconomic indicators and also in socio-economic indicators.

Hailing the NITI Aayog for its support to states in identifying priorities, sectors, and strategies for sustainable development, the Chief Minister said: “We welcome more such consultations and collaboration with the states in the course of strategy and policy formulation across sectors.”

Patnaik said his government’s development interventions have been successful in combating Left Wing Extremism, mobilisation and economic empowerment of nearly 70 lakh women through Self Help Groups.

He further said that the state has implemented its own health assurance scheme for cashless treatment in empanelled hospitals with wider coverage to reduce out of pocket health expenditure.

“We are the third largest contributor to the PDS rice pool of the country. We have pioneered a conditional cash transfer system for pregnant women and lactating mothers,” he added.

Patnaik further said that the state has invested heavily for infrastructure development and has become an attractive investment destination in manufacturing and mining industries.

Kumar congratulated the Chief Minister for the increase in Odisha’s per capita income, improvement in agriculture and mining along with managing the fiscal deficit below five per cent.

The VC advised the state to improve its mining production from one per cent to more than two per cent. He also suggested switching to chemical free agriculture in the state.

He said the Niti Aayog is keen to partner with Odisha for developing a state-specific development blueprint for Odisha.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Kumar said Odisha’s per capita income has risen significantly between 2011 and 2020 and the growth rate was even higher than the national average, which is a very good work. The state also done well in controlling malnutrition, he said

“We have discussed what more works can be done in aspirational districts, how more people can be lifted from the BPL and other developmental issues,” the Niti Aayog VC said, adding, the Aayog will regularly follow it up.

As Odisha is a mineral rich state, discussion was also held on how more investment and FDI can be brought in the mining sector, he added.

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