Niti Aayog meet: Naveen demands to make natural calamity criteria for special status

New Delhi: While attending the 5th Governing Council meeting of Niti Aayog in Delhi today, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik proposed that natural calamity status be included as a criteria for granting “Special Category” status to Odisha.

“As an interim measure, States hit by major natural calamities may be declared as ‘Special Focus States’ and granted benefits of Special Category Status for a specific period,” the CM said at the fifth meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

CM Naveen also apprised the Centre about the large-scale devastation and massive losses in the state caused by Cyclone Fani which hit the State on May 3. He stressed that the primary sector especially agriculture has to be always taken care of. “Judicious utilisation of water resources holds the key and Second Green Revolution should happen in our dryland areas,” the CM added.

He said PM-KISAN should include landless agriculture households and sharecroppers while all irrigation projects which are lying incomplete as on April 1, 2019 should be included under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY).

“The Union Government should allocate a much higher quantum of resources for watershed, command area development and drinking water. There should be a priority component under the rural roads programme to connect habitations with a population of 100 and below,” CM Naveen said. He also demanded that royalty on coal should be revised from 14 per cent to 20 per cent of sale value.

The Chief Minister also maintained that as frequent elections affect the development climate, it is better to have simultaneous elections in the country.

(With IANS inputs)