Budget missed focus on Odisha’s tribal area development: Naveen

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today expressed disappointment over the Union Budget saying the Central government didn’t lay focus on the development of tribal people in the State, especially in Koraput-Balangir-Kalahandi (KBK) areas.

“I am disappointed that again the Central Government has missed out the focus on for KBK and other Tribal areas,” Naveen told reporters here this evening in his reaction to the Union Budget 2017-18 presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

“In fact, the allocation for SCs, STs and other vulnerable sections and social sectors is grossly inadequate,” he noted.

Patnaik, however, feels happy over the government’s decision to raise the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of crops to 1.5 times of its production cost. “It has been out constant demand to increase the MSP to 1.5 times of the cost of production of paddy. I am happy that it looks like our demand has been accepted,” he said adding the cost of production must take into account the actual cost incurred by farmers.

Similarly, he lamented the Centre over marginal increase in allocation for irrigation saying it wouldn’t help the farming community much in boosting their income. “Irrigation will play a major role in doubling farmers’ income; Marginal increase in allocation for irrigation is a cause of concern,” Patnaik observed.

The CM felt surprised over reduction in allocation under Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana (PMAJ). “Reduction in allocation under PMAY is surprising; I am concerned about the low level of allocations for MGNREGS, MDM, PMGSY & National Health Mission while we have a commitment of “Housing for All,” he added.

Meanwhile, he also praised the Centre’s National Health Protection Scheme aimed to cover to cover ten crore poor families with an allocation of Rs 5 lakh per family but with a rider.

“I am happy that a national health protection scheme has been announced to cover 10 crore poor families; instead of a target of 10 crore, it would have been better had universal coverage extended to all eligible poor families,” Naveen told.

Maintaining that irrigation will play a major role in doubling farmers’ income, he said marginal increase in allocation for irrigation is a serious concern.

Reacting to the railway budget allocation, the Chief Minister said the government hopes that this year allotment is made as per the demand.

“Total outlay for Odisha for 2018-19 for Railway is not known yet as against our demand of Rs 6500 crore. We hope this year the allotment is made as per our demand,” he added.

“We hope that our just demands like daily Rajdhani service via Sambalpur; train to Allahabad from Bolangir and a new daily express train to Mumbai in the name of Paika leader Baxi Jagabandhu are announced immediately,” he said.

As the Union Budget announced plans for re-development of 600 railway stations, Patnaik said two years ago the announcement was for 400 railway stations.

Nothing has happened in this sector, specifically for Odisha, in which 12 railway stations had been chosen, he said.


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