Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 1:
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik left for New Delhi on a four-day visit beginning today to discuss the state’s financial condition with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
“On this trip to Delhi, I will be meeting Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on matters relating to Odisha’s finances,” said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik briefing reporters before leaving for Delhi.
Official sources said the Chief Minister is scheduled to return here on August 4.
Despite the Centre’s claim that the state’s share of revenue would go up on the basis of the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission, an analysis done by the state government recently has concluded that Odisha will actually lose more than Rs 4600 crore during 2015-20.
A report prepared by the Planning and Coordination department has stated that the loss to the state will be Rs 4613.82 crore. What has affected the state’s finances most is that the 14th Finance Commission has not considered favourably the provision for Non-Plan Revenue Deficit Grant for the state. The state government projected pre-devolution deficit of Rs 3, 38,497 crore over five years, which has not been favourably considered by 14th Finance Commission.
The 14th Finance Commission has unrealistically projected the state’s own tax revenue with annual growth rate of 26.6 per cent for 2015-16, 21.3 per cent for 2016-17 to 2018-19 and 17.2 per cent for 2019-20.
Though the state government is not convinced with this projection, there has been no corrective measures as a result of which the share of the state has gone down. Besides, committed expenditure like pension has not been projected correctly with average annual growth of 10 per cent as against the trend of 12 to 15 per cent. This will increase the financial burden on the state further, official sources say.
The 14th Finance Commission has also discontinued the interventions made by the 13th Finance Commission for implementation of different schemes. The state Government will now have to fund these schemes from its own finances.
While the state government has already discontinued the emergency feeding programme which was being implemented in eight KBK districts since 1995-96, the fate of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme now hangs in balance because of drastic cut in funds by the Centre.
The allocation for the ICDS programme in the state has already been slashed from Rs 18,108 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 8,245.77 crore in 2015-16. The state government may also not receive any funds for construction of anganwadi centre (AWC) buildings.
There are over 71,000 functional AWCs of which over 48,000 do not have their own buildings. Further, the AWC buildings constructed more than a decade back have been damaged needing repair and renovation. However, the State Budget has also slashed allocations, earmarking only around Rs 300 crore for 2015- 16.
During his meeting with the Union Finance Minister, the Chief Minister would be drawing the attention of the former to these issues and seek redressal, sources said.