Union Finance Minister rules out special category status to Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who is on a two-day visit to Odisha, today said the coastal state will not be accorded the special category status.

Sitharaman said this on the sidelines of the post Budget discussion here.

“Special category status will not be accorded to Odisha. In fact, the status will not be accorded to any other state in future. The Finance Commission has sent recommendations in this regard to the Centre. Telangana, which is the newest state of India, has been accorded the status after it was carved out of Andhra Pradesh,” said the Finance Minister.

Notably, Odisha has been seeking special category status for last many years by citing its vast backward regions and frequent occurrences of natural calamities like cyclones and floods.

A special category status is a classification given by the Centre to states having hilly terrains, strategic international borders and economic and infrastructural backwardness.

The special category status was first introduced in 1969 when the Fifth Finance Commission sought to provide preferential treatment to some states in the form of central assistance and tax breaks.

So far, altogether 11 states including Assam, Nagaland, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Uttarakhand have been accorded the special category state status.

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