December 7, 2014

naveen-patnaikOdisha Channel Bureau Bhubaneswar, Dec 7: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday left it to the wisdom of the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to frame the structure and processes of the new Planning institutional set up. “We leave it to the wisdom of the Central Government and to the Prime Minister to frame the structure and processes of the new Planning institutional set up,” Patnaik said while speaking at the meeting convened by Modi in New Delhi to discuss the structure of the new body which would replace the Planning Commission.“Our stand is that it should ensure just, fair and equitable resource allocation and respect the principles of federal polity,” Patnaik said.Complimenting Modi for scheduling the meeting with the Chief Ministers aimed at shaping the shared vision of transforming India in the spirit of Cooperative Federalism, Patnaik said: “For over a decade, both of us as Chief Ministers have experienced the planning process from the other side.So, the Prime Minister is well aware of the problems that the opposition ruled States face on account of Centre’s bias.”“India is an emerging economy progressing to catch up with the developed world.This can only become a reality if the Union Government and its Planning Body, whatever its structure be, can ensure equitable distribution of resources free from any political motives,” Patnaik added.Stating that the problems encountered by the States are unique to them and vary from State to State, Patnaik said “we need to tailor our programmes to meet the local needs”.“In this context, we fully support the decision to replace the Planning Commission with a suitable arrangement to address these issues,” he said.“We need to create a mechanism for sharing the tax revenues to enable the States prepare their plans based on local felt needs.In this regard, the Finance Commission can either be strengthened or a suitable new arrangement can be thought of,” the Chief Minister added.Patnaik observed that the planning process followed during the last six decades as also the distribution of resources have been guided not entirely on merit and necessity.“This has caused a serious imbalance in development across States and unsatisfactory performance in human development indicators,” he said.“I share the view that the proliferation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes has gradually eroded the flexibility of States in designing development programmes suited to the specific needs of the States.”The Chief Minister also cited many instances highlighting historical neglect of Odisha.“My State contributes over Rs.14,000 crore annually or about one-tenth of the total revenue of Railways.In return, the railways have not been able to plough back even 20% of the revenue earned in my State with the result that the railway density in Odisha at 15 km is significantly lower than the national average.”“About three-fourth of Gram Panchayats of my State still do not have even a brick and mortar bank branch.How can we ensure financial inclusion when three-fourth of my State remains unbanked?”

December 7, 2014 0 Comment

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