Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 7:
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who keeps demanding ‘Special Category Status’ for Odisha every now and then and blames the Central Government for its denial, didn’t even submit a written demand to the Union Government when he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This was revealed by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in response to an RTI application submitted by activist Hemant Kumar Panda of Bolangir.
Neither did the Central Government nor the PMO have initiated any process to confer this status on the state based on Naveen’s verbal demand, PMO’s reply to the RTI query said.
The state public relations machinery highlighted different aspects of the Naveen-Modi meet that happened in June 2014 after both leaders won the elections. However, both the state state government and PMO were surprisingly silent on the issue of Special Category Status, making Panda file the RTI.
It may be noted that, the states which get Special Category Status are given a higher share in the Union government’s resource allocation, due to backwardness and other social problems. They receive 30 per cent of the Centre’s gross budgetary support for Plan expenditure. Further, they also get significant excise duty concessions that attract industries to set up manufacturing units within their territory.