Odisha reiterates demand for special category status
Bhubaneswar, Feb 17 : Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday reiterated the demand for special category status for Odisha and revision of coal royalty for the benefit of the state.During a meeting with NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar at the state secretariat here, the Chief Minister also demanded an increase in central assistance to the backward districts of the state.
The state government has been demanding more central assistance for schemes in backward districts, funding for programmes like special plan for the Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput (KBK) districts, Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF), Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for Left Wing Extremists-affected districts, which have been stopped by the Centre.
The Chief Minister also urged the Centre to change the fund-sharing pattern of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) from 75:25 to 90:10 between the Centre and state, respectively.
As lack of bank branches have affected the financial inclusion system in Odisha, the state government urged that all banks be instructed to open branches in identified unbanked gram panchayats.
Patnaik reiterated the demand for a revision the rate of royalty on coal, something that has to be done every three years. The Centre has not revised the royalty on coal since April 2012.
"Before my arrival, issues pertaining to the state's interests had been submitted to us. There are 9-10 important issues. Out of these, some are relating to Odisha, some to the central government and some to other states. We will look into them separately," Rajiv Kumar told media persons.
"Our effort through such meetings is that the senior bureaucrats from this state would come over to New Delhi and the officials of the required ministries will be invited to the NITI Aayog and interact on the solutions," he added.