Odisha CM’s demand for financial autonomy not possible within Constitutional framework: Niranjan

Bhubaneswar: A day after Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik raked up the issue of financial autonomy for the State; Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief Niranjan Patnaik today questioned the former’s intention citing such autonomy is not possible under the Constitutional framework of the country.

Responding to media queries, Niranjan said there is nothing new in Odisha CM’s demand for a special package instead of special category status for the state as the Congress was also demanding the same 15 years ago. “I have high regards for Naveen as he is the chief minister of the State. But unfortunately the demand of fiscal autonomy doesn’t look nice from his mouth,” said Niranjan.

While taking a dig at State government’s KALIA scheme, Nirajan further accused that Naveen Patnaik government has not spent a single rupee towards declaring bonus for farmers and there is nothing new in KALIA scheme.

Earlier yesterday, Naveen Patnaik while addressing party leaders and workers during BJD’s foundation day had demanded financial autonomy for Odisha. “I don’t want special category status or Central assistance; give me financial autonomy and I will make Odisha the No 1 State of South Asia. Odisha can be fully nurtured with its own resources and our fight for our rights will continue,” Naveen had said.

Interestingly, Naveen Patnaik is raking up the issue of financial autonomy which was once raised by his father and late CM Biju Patnaik during the 1990s.

The ruling BJD had been demanding special category status and more Central assistance which the Centre which have not come forth. Odisha’s demand for coal royalty revision has also fallen on deaf ears at the Centre, which has also not released funds from the Rs 21,000 crore collected under the clean energy cess. Under such circumstances, question remains whether Odisha CM’s demand for financial autonomy assumes importance or it is just a mere political stunt to woo voters by projecting the Centre as the bad cop.

“Naveen Patnaik very well knows that financial autonomy is a day dream. But they have come up with such statements just for the sake of politics,” said Odisha BJP MLA, Pradip Purohit.

Odisha Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera stated that “Odisha has been neglected at several levels. Hence, we are now forced to demand financial autonomy.”

So far under the country’s federal structure, no State has been granted financial autonomy for which lot of ground work is needed including passage of a bill in the Parliament with necessary amendments.

“Odisha will certainly prosper but it will also fuel corruption in the State,” said Constitutional Expert, Amareshwar Mishra.