DFID agrees to finance OMEGA

Bhubaneswar: Impressed by the reform process in the state, the UK`s Department for International Development has agreed to finance the proposed Odisha Modernising Economy, Governance and Administrative Programme (OMEGA) and Odisha Health Sector Plan (OSHP), official sources said.

The DFID has already provided assistance to the Odisha Tribal Empowerment and Livelihood Project (OTELP) and Western Odisha Rural Livelihood Project (WORLP). About Rs 180 crore has been utilised in OTELP and Rs 261 crore in WORLP, a review meeting here was told.

At present, OMEGA-with an outlay of Rs 142.50 crore-aims to create employment opportunities in non-farm sectors, strengthen public finance management and increase the access and impact of NREGS. Preliminary projections show that on account of the reformative activities and enabling policies of the government under OMEGA, investment in Odisha is expected to cross Rs 6,00,000 crore by the end of the project period in 2015-16.

State revenue is expected to rise by one-third over the baseline, with a projected increase in social sector allocation up to Rs 1,300 crore. The project is likely to create 1 million jobs worth 100 million man-days because of the increased access to and impact of NREGA, an official said.

It will also strengthen the Public Distribution System and access to food security. The Odisha Health Sector programme, with an estimated outlay of Rs 629 crore, is expected to increase nutritional status and health security.

Reviewing these projects, DFID representatives, along with the Department of Economic Affairs Joint Secretary, agreed to finance OMEGA and extend its support for the OHSP, the official said.