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Odisha demands central aid

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 9: The Odisha government today sought Rs 4.60 lakh crore of financial assistance from the Centre during the planned period between 2015 and 2020.

The Odisha government submitted a memorandum to this effect to a delegation of the 14th Finance Commission, which is on a visit to Odisha.

The commission, which decides devolution of tax resources between the Centre and the states, will submit its recommendation to the Centre in October next.

The delegation, led by its chairman, former governor of the Reserve Bank of India Y.V. Reddy, today interacted with the Odisha government.

Odisha has made the claim for the assistance on the plea that it needed large-scale investment in infrastructure to boost the socio-economic development of the state.

Addressing the meeting, chief minister Naveen Patnaik said: “The state has been consistently growing above the national average over the past five to 10 years. However, it suffers from deficiencies in critical infrastructure. The socio-economic indicators, though has improved over the years, continues to remain below the national average.”

The government has projected a growth rate of 12 per cent in the next five years.

Naveen told the meeting that the share of Odisha from central resources had been going down considerably, despite its contributions to the national exchequer.

The chief minister said the commission must devise a suitable fiscal transfer formula, so that the states received their due share.

In its memorandum, the state government said the share of Centre and state to the State Disaster Response Fund for a low-income state such as Odisha, which is extremely prone to disaster or calamities, should be set at the ratio of 90:10 instead of present ratio of 75:25.

Stating that there was undue delay in release of funds, the memorandum urged the commission to recommend immediate release of an advance amount on an ad-hoc basis from the disaster fund in case of natural calamities so as to enable states to take up immediate relief and restoration.