Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Mar 4:
Even as the Odisha government is upping the ante against Centre for not granting special category status to Odisha, deputy chairperson of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia today said it is not in his hands to grant such a status to the state.
Rubbing salt to injury, he, in fact, claimed that Odisha was already getting ‘enough assistance’ from the Union government under various plan and non-plan schemes to carry out developmental activities.
“It’s not in my hands to grant special category status to Odisha. However, there is no doubt that Odisha is a backward state. The state should get – and is getting – enough assistance under various schemes like KBK, BRGF etc,” Ahluwalia told reporters here.
Last year, he had rejected the Odisha government’s plea for special category status saying the state did not meet the ‘existing criteria’ for grant of such status. That, however, was before the Raghuram Rajan Committee report which designated Odisha as the poorest state in the country, but did not recommend such a status to it.
The deputy chairperson of the Planning Commission, who visited Udyan Fresh and the horticulture research institute at Deras during the one-day trip to the state appreciated the use of modern technology in horticulture, but emphasised the need for eliminating the number of intermediaries between farmers and consumers.
He said the Udyan Fresh is a farmer to consumer model, which could be replicated in other states too.
He also addressed a memorial lecture at the Ravenshaw university at Cuttack.