NITI Aayog urges Odisha not to transfer district officials frequently

Bhubaneswar: After Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik gave the fourth meeting of the NITI Aayog Governing Council a miss drawing flak from various quarters, a new controversy has surfaced over frequent transfers of collectors and officials of the districts included in the ‘aspirational districts’ programme.

As per reports, NITI Aayog has asked the State government not to transfer the district-level officers frequently so that developmental activities can be properly taken up in those regions.

However, the ruling BJD has condemned the decision terming it as a violation of the federal structure.

“The Centre has no rights to interfere in the internal administration of a state. But through NITI Aayog, it is trying to interfere in the state administration which we will never accept,” said BJD spokesperson, Pratap Deb.

Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee President, Niranjan Patnaik said “The responsibility to appoint officers at district level rests with the state governments and this shouldn’t be politicised.”

However, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that the Centre is not interfering in state matters and just wants the State government to provide longer terms to the district-level officers to scale up developmental activities.

“In no way NITI Aayog is interfering in the internal matters of the State. If collectors in the aspirational districts will get a stable tenure then development programmes can be properly implemented,” said Pradhan.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in connection with the governing council meeting of NITI Aayog reiterated Odisha’s demand for special category state status.

In the letter, the CM also suggested implementation of Swaminathan Committee’s recommendations on farmers in right earnest on a fast track mode to transform the agricultural sector.

He also suggested creation of credit guarantee trust for agriculture on the lines of Credit Guarantee Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) through which collateral-free agriculture loans up to Rs 50 lakh and collateral-free crop loan up to Rs 2 lakh could be extended.