Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Aimed at developing the most backward areas of the State, the Centre has short-listed eight backward districts of Odisha under New India Mission 2022, a flagship programme of PM Modi.

Special central officers at the level of additional joint secretaries have been appointed as ‘Prabhari Officers’ on behalf of Centre to co-ordinate the efforts of Centre and States for the scheme. The officers would inspect the welfare activities to be undertaken by Government of India in the districts identified as Bolangir, Kalahandi, Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Kandhamal, Gajapati and Dhenkanal. The Centre has chalked out action plan for social and economic development apart from providing basic amenities to people in these districts.

All the welfare programmes under the scheme will be implemented through the Collectors of the respective districts, which would be closely supervised by the Odisha cadre officials who are currently on deputation. Collectors have also been asked to prepare District Action Plan spelling out the blue print for achieving the target. Various activities would be undertaken in the field of health, education and infrastructure development.

"The districts which downgrade the country in development indicators have been identified. This is a new formula of Niti Ayog. Initially, 115 districts of the country have been identified," Union Minister Jual Oram said.

Congress and BJD said the programme would be a failure. "The motive of BJP-led Central government is clear as it is implementing such programme after cutting down the funds allocated to backward regions for development during Congress regime," senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Odisha Assembly Narasingh Mishra said.

BJD also questioned Centre's motive for not including other backward districts of KBK region. "The most backward regions under KBK like Nabarangpur, Sonepur, Nuapada have not found a place in the list of 115 backward districts covered under New India Mission. Moreover, there is no special package for these districts. This programme would be a flop one," BJD MP Kalikesh Singhdeo said.