Moneycontrol, Aug 4, 2015
During a meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Patnaik also demanded restoration of schemes including Backward Region Grant Fund for the beneift of vulnerable groups in the backward regions of the state.
Lamenting Centre's neglect towards Odisha in financial allocation, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday demanded Rs 3,500 crore from provision made for special dispensation through NITI Aayog, even as Centre said it was "actively" considering special assistance to KBK districts. During a meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Patnaik also demanded restoration of schemes including Backward Region Grant Fund for the beneift of vulnerable groups in the backward regions of the state. Responding to the Chief Minister's demand, Jaitley said NITI Aayog is presently looking into all these issues including the funding pattern under the ongoing schemes and restoration of key Area Development Programmes. They include schemes such as the Integrated Action Plan for Left Wing Extremism affected areas and Backward Region Grant Fund. "The Government is also actively considering Special Assistance for Koraput-Balangir-Kalahandi (KBK) districts," he said. Jaitley also assured Patnaik that the Department of Expenditure will carefully look into the net additional liability suffered by Odisha on account of reduction of central assistance for state plan. He also said additional financial assistance will be provided to Odisha after evaluation of the state's requirements, according to a state government statement. During the meeting, Patnaik had expressed concern that in his budget speech this year, the Finance Minister had made no mention of any special central assistance for Odisha though similar assistance was promised to other eastern states. He said the state faces a net additional liability of Rs 2,149 crore in 2015-16 since the gain due to increase in devolution from 32 percent to 42 percent only partly offsets the loss suffered by the state on account of reduction of central assistance and grants, the statement said. Patnaik demanded that allocation under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana should be enhanced from the present level of Rs 912 crore to Rs 1,800 crore for which an equivalent provision has been made in the Budget Estimates of the state for 2015-16 to enable the state to take up and complete critical projects and improve rural connectivity.