Saturday, February 24, 2007

Feb 24, 2007: The Telegraph

Plan pegged at 5105 cr

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 23: The plan size for Orissa for 2007-08 was pegged at Rs 5,105 crore at the end of discussions between chief minister Naveen Patnaik and the Planning Commission deputy chairman in Delhi this evening.

The annual plan outlay for the coming financial year is 46 per cent higher than the current fiscal, said an official release issued by the chief minister’s office here.

Discussions were also held regarding the size of the 11th plan (2007-12). It was, however, decided that the plan size would be finalised after “further deliberations” within a couple of months.

Addressing the meeting with Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Patnaik said less-developed states like Orissa should get “greater support and higher flow of liberal assistance” from the Centre, primarily of non-debt creating nature.

The chief minister urged Delhi to provide greater assistance for development of infrastructure such as roads, irrigation projects and ports. He also stressed the need for expeditious release of fiscal incentive grants to Orissa for its “excellent performance in reducing revenue deficit”.

Patnaik reiterated the demand for increase of special central assistance for the undivided Koraput-Bolangir-Kalahandi (KBK) region to Rs 500 crore per annum. He urged the plan panel official to extend concessions in central excise, income-tax and other incentives for promotion of industries in KBK on a par with some of the other backward regions of the country.
Patnaik said the Centre should redefine the criteria for according special category status to a state and treat Orissa as such.

The other major demands put forth by the chief minister included timely revision of royalty rates for major minerals on ad valorem basis, compensation of power generating states like Orissa for environmental degradation and displacement of people.

He also urged Delhi to address “inequalities” between the power producing and consuming states.

On the education front, Patnaik spoke about the need for setting up an IIT and an IIM in Orissa.

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