Naveen concerned over declining share of central assistance

New Delhi: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik today expressed concerns over the declining share of central assistance to his State under various Agriculture schemes including cut in the national food security mission.

Raising his concerns during a meeting with Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh here, he said the State has suffered a double whammy due to “reduced” devolution of resources to the State under the 14th Finance Commission and “changing pattern” of central assistance along with reduced allocations to Agriculture schemes.

Allaying the CM’s concerns, Singh assured the matter was being examined by Finance Ministry to ensure total allocation of resources to a State does not register any decline as compared to previous years, said a statement issued by the State government.

The Union Minister said a committee has been set up under the Chairmanship of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to look into the impact of 14th Finance Commission and reduced Central allocation to the States.

The CM informed the minister that inadequate allocation of fertilisers to the State by the Centre was responsible for low average fertiliser consumption in the State at 57 kilograms per hectare, significantly lower than the National average of 127 kilograms per hectare.

He sought Agriculture minister’s help impress the Railways to open new ‘rake points’ in his State for proper and adequate distribution of fertilisers to the districts.

Patnaik urged the minister to include six left-out districts namely, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Boudh and Jharsuguda under the National Horticulture Mission and to enhance allocation for establishment of cold storages for addressing the problem of scarcity of potato and other vegetables faced during the off season.

Stating that the State has a huge potential for growing sugarcane, he demanded allocation of funds for Sugarcane Development under the National Food Security Mission, the lack of which is severely impacting the availability of sugarcane to meet the demand of six sugar mills in the State.