Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 5:
After a brief truce, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) supremo Naveen Patnaik was today back to doing what he knows best: bashing the Centre for its alleged ‘step-motherly’ attitude to Odisha.
The occasion for the revival of this tried and tested formula of political survival was a function organised at the BJD headquarters here to mark the birth anniversary of Biju Patnaik after whom the party has been named.
In his speech in Odia read out read out with customary unease from a script written in Roman, Patnaik pulled up the Center accusing it of drastically cutting the share of the state in the 14th Finance Commission award and reminding it of its duty in a federal structure.
“The Center has to play its role for the development of the state in a federal structure. Unfortunately, even though the Center appreciated the state’s performance in managing fiscal deficit, it has reduced the share of the state in the 14th Finance Commission. While they have issued special packages to Bihar and West Bengal, it has not been issued to Odisha. Is it not discrimination? We will have to intensify our fight against this injustice,” said the BJD boss.
The BJP hit back almost immediately, repudiating Patnaik’s charge with Union Tribal Affairs minister Jual Oram leading the charge. Oram advised the Odisha Chief Minister to “properly read the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission.”
“Earlier the devolution of the resources was 32 percent. In the 14th Finance Commission, it has been increased to 42 percent, which means 41 percent of the income of the central Government will be given to the states. The Urban bodies and Panchayati Raj institutions will receive funds as per the new provision. Overall, the center would share up to 47 percent of its income with the state,” said Oram.
He went on to add that the government will receive the highest amount from auction of coal blocks and other minerals which will be higher than Rs 1 Lakh crores. The state will get to spend Rs 2- 2.5 Lakh crores within next three to four years.
“Special packages have been given to revenue deficit states. Why didn’t the CM go and tell the Commission that his state is revenue deficit? He rather went and highlighted his achievements thereby making the state ineligible for the special entitlement,” Oram said.
“The Center will do its duty. The state should also do it job. The State Government should work for the people instead of playing politics,” he added.