Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: It will be a litmus test for leaders who were inducted in first major reshuffle that was effected by Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik here on Sunday.

The major surprise in the entire ministry-expansion-cum-reshuffle was the allocation of two important portfolios—Excise and Finance to Sashi Bhusan Behera, who became a minister for the first time.

In an interview to OTV, Behera expressed gratitude towards Chief Minister for reposing faith on him and allocating crucial portfolios at a time when State is moving towards a ‘financial crisis’ owing to sharp reduction in release of Central funds and complexity to be faced in view of implementation of the 7th pay commission recommendations.

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“It is a challenge as far as managing the entire State’s finance is concerned. We will work in bringing a change in the overall financial management and improving the revenue generation without burdening the common people,” said Behera.

Behera said that Odisha has been urging Centre to accord special category status to Odisha which has been overlooked so far. Efforts will be taken to chalk out more plans and policies as there has also been a sharp reduction and change in ration of release of funds.

Sashi Bhusan Behera, who has also been given charge of Excise Department, also sought people’s cooperation in putting a curb on illegal liquor trade in the state.

Senior leader Surya Narayan Patro, who was given charge of Food and Civil Supplies and Cooperation, said that efforts would be taken for reorganising the departments to serve people in a better way.

“Maintaining balance between demand and supply and coordination between consumers and producers will be one of key factors. Ensuring that 74 percent of population gets covered under National Food Security Act and be rectifying past irregularities will be our focus,” said Patro.