Odisha prioritised in budget: Dharmendra

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Bhubaneswar: Refuting allegations that Odisha would lose revenue following the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission, union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Sunday that it would get about Rs.8,000 crore more funds per annum compared to the 13th commission allocations.

Though the share of Odisha in tax devolution has decreased, the quantum of fund allocation has been increased and the state would receive more funds, Pradhan said.

“Odisha has not been neglected. In the 14th Finance Commission, it would get Rs.24,416 crore against the amount of Rs.16,630 crore in 13th commission. It will be around Rs.8,000 crore more,” Pradhan told reporters here.

The state would also get additional revenue from coal and other minerals through auction process, said the minister.

Describing the union budget as disappointing, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on Saturday that the share of the state in tax devolution from 4.78 to 4.6 percent will involve a loss of about Rs.4,600 crore over a period of five years.

As there is no budgetary provision for Nabakalebar 2015 of Lord Jagannath, Pradhan said the cabinet secretary has already conducted two meetings over the preparation of the festival and the centre would provide every assistance to the state government.

Pradhan said Odisha would also get ultra mega power projects proposed in the budget. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech said that five more power projects, entailing investments of around Rs.1 lakh crore, would come up.

The ruling Biju Janata Dal has decided to protest across the state against the paltry allocation of fund in the union budget.

“We have decided to hold a rally at Raj Bhawan here on Monday for not fulfilling our demand of special category status to Odisha. We would also hold rallies at districts headquarters March 3,” state Food Supply and Consumer Welfare Minister Sanjay Dasburma said.

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