Naveen demands to include natural calamity as indicator to accord special category status to Odisha

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Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday reiterated his demand that natural calamity should be included as a criterion for according Special Category Status to Odisha.

Attending the fifth meeting of the governing council of NITI Aayog which held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi, Patnaik also demanded that states hit by major natural calamities may be declared as ‘Special Focus States’ and granted benefits of Special Category Status for a specific period.

He informed that the recent cyclone ‘FANI’ has caused massive devastation in Odisha. He demanded that royalty on coal should be revised from 14% to 20% of sale value. He proposed that the PM-KISAN should include landless agriculture households and sharecroppers.

The CM said the Union Government should allocate a much higher quantum of resources for watershed, command area development and drinking water.

Patnaik apprised that Odisha has come a long way from a poverty-stricken State to a State which showed the highest reduction of poverty among major States in a decade.

He also said that Odisha from a food deficient State has now a rice surplus State and one of the largest contributors to the Central pool.

He added that Odisha from a helpless State at the time of disasters has now become a State which has set global standards in disaster management.

  • Highlighted other key issues as follows:
  • All irrigation projects which are lying incomplete as on 1st April, 2019 should be included under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY).
  • The Union Government should allocate a much higher quantum of resources for watershed, command area development and drinking water.
  • There should be a priority component under PMGSY-III to connect habitations with a population of 100 and below.
  • The projects need to be expedited to extend rail connectivity to Kandhamal, Nabarangpur and Malkangiri districts.
  • Bank facilities should be extended to unbanked Gram Panchayats.
  • Bharatnet Project should also be implemented at a faster pace.
  • Made some broad suggestions to NITI Aayog Governing Council (Team India) –
  • We must move towards empowering women in all spheres.
  • As frequent elections affect development climate, it is better to have simultaneous elections in the country.
  • Primary sector especially agriculture has to be always taken care of. Judicious utilisation of water resources holds the key and Second Green Revolution should happen in our dryland areas.
  • Environment and economic development should go hand in hand.
  • It is time we do a scientific comprehensive survey for beneficiary-oriented schemes.

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