Ramakanta Biswas

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday raised the demand for a special dispensation from the Centre to help Odisha catch up with the frontline states. 

The CM put forth the demand during his interaction with NITI Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar and his team. The team is on a three-day visit to the State. 

Highlighting the long term issues, the CM said that the State is burdened with infrastructural gaps and vulnerability to recurring natural calamities. 

“This requires a special dispensation from the government of India to help the State to catch up with the frontline States,” a statement quoted the CM as saying. 

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

The Chief Minister said that the State’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 its our own health scheme for cashless treatment in empanelled hospitals with wider coverage to reduce out of pocket health expenditure. 

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

He said that the State has invested heavily for infrastructure development and has become an attractive investment destination in manufacturing and mining Industries. 

During the interaction, Niti Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar congratulated the Chief Minister for the increase in State’s per capita income, improvement in agriculture and mining along with managing the fiscal deficit below five percent. 

Kumar advised the State to improve its mining production from one percent to more than two percent. He proposed the State to set up an SDG monitoring unit and also suggested for switching to chemical free agriculture in the State.

Stating that every state has its own priorities and specificity, the Niti Aayog VC said that it is keen to partner with Odisha for developing a state specific development blueprint for the State.