Plan panel approves outlay of Rs 21,500cr for Odisha

New Delhi: The Planning Commission on Tuesday approved a Plan outlay of Rs 21,500 crore for Odisha for 2013-14. The Plan size was finalised here in a meeting between Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

In 2012-13, the State government had received a Plan size of Rs 15, 200 crore.

Appreciating the achievements of the State, Ahluwalia said, “Odisha is doing extremely well and we have in fact encouraged it to increase the Plan in order to do more capital investments. I think they have fiscal space.”  

“They could do more by borrowing more. We think there is a lot of scope for doing that…. We give the government all support forward it needs to do,” added Ahluwalia.
 
Mentioning about the State government’s demand for environmental clearance to certain projects, Ahuwalia said that the CM has pointed to certain areas where the Centre can help particularly on issues of environmental clearance which can sometimes effect the pace of developmental activities.

“We'll certainly look into it,” he quipped.

During the meeting, Patnaik has also sought Planning Commission support for Special Plan for the KBK Region which he wanted to be extended by 10 years with enhanced funding to bring the region at par with other regions of the State.

The Odisha CM has drawn attention of the Plan Panel for amendments in the existing Central Act to provide for at least 25% of the power generated free of cost to the host thermal power producing States like Odisha, in line with the hydro power policy.

Patnaik sought a Special Central Assistance of Rs 1397 crore for Nabakalebar of Lord Jagannath scheduled to be held in 2015.

Reiterating the demand for special category status to Odisha, he demanded that the criteria may be redefined and the State should be declared as a Special Category State since its position is much below the level of several such States.

Notably, Naveen Patnaik-led BJD is organizing a convention at Ramlila Maidan in the national capital on June 12 to press for special category status for Odisha. Meanwhile BJD plans to complete its signature campaign to collect one crore signatures to strengthen its stand on the issue before the Delhi rally.