Bhubaneswar, Feb 1:

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday said the Union Budget 2017-18 is “a mixed bag” and falls “short of expectations” on many issues as not much has been done to address the adverse impact of demonetisation.

“People at large took the brunt of impact of demonetisation and I was expecting something spectacular for the common man in the Union Budget. However, the Union Budget 2017-18 is a mixed bag and falls short of expectations on many counts.

“Specific concerns of Odisha specially relating to development of KBK region, opening of bank branches in un-banked Gram Panchayats and meeting the developmental aspirations of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe community have not been addressed,” he said.

Noting the scheme-related transfers to the States have been proposed to increase at a meagre rate of 5.5 percent, he said that in real terms, there is no increase at all, while allocations for schemes relating to rural roads, rural drinking water, education, mid-day-meal programme and urban development are almost stagnant.

Patnaik said that there was no growth at all in the allocation for Special Central Assistance to states for the Scheduled Castes’ welfare as well as social security pensions under the National Social Assistance Programme, while initiatives relating to job creation for the youth was an area of serious concern where adequate focus is not given.

He however, welcomed the measures taken for the farm sector specially in dairy processing and infrastructure development fund to be set up in NABARD as well as an increased allocation for rural housing.

On the allocations in railway sector to the state, he said the budget has allocated to the tune of Rs 5,102 crore against the demand of Rs 5, 870 crore for various Railway infrastructure projects in the state, a “meagre increase” of 9 percent over the last year’s allocation.

Welcoming the decision of the Union Government to commemorate the bi-centenary of the “Paika Bidroha” led by Baxi Jagabandhu, he also complemented Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for nation-wide implementation of the maternity benefit scheme, a replica of Odisha’s “MAMTA”.

Patnaik also welcomed the initiative to bring transparency in political funding. (IANS)

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