Bhubaneswar: Under the visionary leadership of our Chief Minister Shri Naveen Pattnaik, Odisha has been following the development model of inclusive growth. No doubt higher growth is an important goal for us.
Equally important, however, is to ensure that benefits of growth are widely shared. Higher growth must be accompanied by faster reduction in poverty and regional disparity. The vulnerable and disadvantaged communities should fully participate in the growth process that improves their lives and livelihood. Investment and productivity in both social and economic sectorsare the key driversfor swift, sustainable, and inclusive growth in an economy.Considering the multi-dimensional nature of poverty, ourstrategy is focused onboosting agriculture production & productivity; expanding irrigation;improving health care, education and skills for our people; and providing safe drinking water, sanitation, better livelihood opportunities, social security, electricity and rural connectivity to our people. The State has made substantial investment in physical infrastructure to attract manufacturing and service industries especially in MSME sector. Besides, we have focussed on good governance through 3Ts – Teamwork, Transparency & Technologyso that the services are efficiently and effectively delivered. There is ample evidence to suggest that this development model has succeeded. The size of Odisha’s economy has increased by about five times in real terms during the last seventeen years. The real per capita income has increased from Rs.14,862 in 1999-2000 to Rs.61,678 in 2016-17 at 2011-12 prices. Poverty in Odisha has declined by 24.6 percentage points from 57.2 per cent in 2004-05 to 32.6 per cent in 2011 as per Tendulkar Committee Methodology, which is the highest reduction among major States in India. Improving agriculture production and productivityis one of our top most priorities, as higher agriculture growth can lead to faster poverty reduction. To have a focused attention to agriculture sector, the State has been presenting a separate Agriculture Budget since 2013-14. The allocation for Agriculture & Allied sector has more than doubled in just four years, an increase from about Rs.7,162 crore in 2013-14 to about Rs.14,930 crore in 2017-18.The State Government is focusing on various means for increasing agricultural productivity by way of increased irrigation potential, crop diversification, input subsidy, risk mitigation in shape of insurance coverage, market linkage, remunerative price for agricultural produce etc.The State is providing crop loan to farmers at one percent rate of interest.The food grain production has increased from 5.54 Million tons in 2000 to 11.83 Million tons in 2017. Odisha is now a surplus state in rice production and the 3rd largest contributor to the rice pool in the country. The productivity gain in agriculture has been recognized at the National level with conferment of “Krishi Karman Award” four times during the last five years. It is heartening to note that Odisha is the only State in the country that has been able to more than double the income of farmers during the last decade.In order to achieve higher growth in agriculture sector, we give topmost priority to harnessing water resources for providing irrigation. The State has set a target of creating 10 lakh hectare of additional irrigation potential during 2014-19 through various initiatives such as completion of incomplete major and medium projects, mega-lift schemes, check dams etc. We have created about 5 lakh hectare of irrigation potential during initial three years and we are on course to achieve the target by 2019. While we are partnering with Central Government in the schemes meant for agricultural and irrigation developments there is a need for substantial additional Central resources for States like Odisha, which have still huge potential in this area. However, we are now required to contribute much higher proportion as State Share which acts as a big constraint. For example, for completion of major and medium irrigation projects under PMKSY, the State has to effectively contribute about 75% of resources with the Central Government contributing only about 25%. Odisha has adopted a multi-pronged approach to promote industrial production, especially manufacturing. A Land Bank has been created. “Ease of doing Business” framework is being implemented. In the “Make-in-Odisha” conclave held at Bhubaneswar last year, commitments of investment of over Rs.2 lakh crore with 1.4 lakh job opportunities have been received. A “Start-up Policy, 2016” has been announced to facilitate 1,000 start-ups in the next five years.If the Central Government would support the State in providing additional resources for creating infrastructure for industries and faster environment & forest clearances, the pace of industrialization can be accelerated. Besides, Central support for a backward and forward linkage for the industrial hinterlands of Dhamra, Gopalpur and Paradeep Ports with the Northern and Central hinterlands through a dedicated freight corridor between Vishakhapatnam and Kolkata through Odisha can boost the industrial activities in the State. Improved infrastructure in the form of road & rail connectivity, Energy etc. are pre-requisite to socio-economic development. In the last few years, the State has added around 18,000 kilometers of road length. However, some of the National Highways passing through Odisha suffer from poor quality owing to inadequate provision of funds. The State Government has been compelled to provide funds for maintenance and repair of National Highways which are in a state of disrepair and causing inconvenience to the users. Stretch of National Highways which are still single lane and intermediate lane, should be immediately upgraded to double lane.Adequate funds should be provided by Central Government for repair, maintenance and development of National Highways. The railway density in the State is one of the lowest in the country. Although railway is a Central subject, the State Government is investing in many railway projects. We are providing equity in commercially viable railway projects like Haridaspur-ParadipLink, Angul- SukindaLink etc. The State Government is also providing land free of cost in addition to cost sharing of construction cost for projects like Khurda-Bolangir Link, Jeypore—Malkangiri Link and Jeypore-NabarangpurLinketc.As per an estimation, Indian Railways collects about Rs.17,000 crore from Odisha towards freight and passenger fair, whereas the annual Capital investment is only of the order of Rs.5,000 crore. We need more support from Centre in shape of higher investment in expanding rail infrastructure in the State, modernization of railway stations and better passenger connectivity. We have stepped up our investment substantially in power sector to ensure 24×7 quality power supply.More than 93 per cent villages of the State have been electrified so far and by 2018we are likely to achieve 100 per cent village electrification.However, the State being the pioneer in power sector reforms that privatised the Distribution sector was deprived of its due share under the Central Scheme APDRP. Thus, adequate Central support could not be made available for power sector infrastructure in the State in the post reforms period. We hope that adequate Central support would be available for electrification of the remaining villages and households. Odisha has also made significant progress in the urban development in recent past. From 2001 to 2011, the State has recorded a population growth of 14%, but the growth rate of the urban population was much higher at nearly 27%. Further, the urban population has increased to about 17% in 2011 from 15% in 2001.Key achievements during the period 2000-01 to 2016-17 include more than 100% increase in population benefitted through urban water supply from 31 lakhs to 66 lakhs; 300% increase in household connections; over 60% increase in piped water supply from 574 million liter per day to 927 million liter per day; 100% increase in the number of public stand posts from 14,000 to 27,637 and 300% increase in number of hand pumps from 11,975 to 33,997.The State is partnering with the Centre in various Schemes like Smart City, AMRUT etc. with the matching contribution. However, larger contributions from Centre for Smart City scheme& AMRUT are needed for our State, which needs to catch up with other States in urbanization. Appreciating the critical bearings of the social sector on the all-round development of the State, the Government of Odisha has committed itself towards improving the social indicators. Therefore, spending on both Health and Education has remained one of our topmost priority. There is a nine fold increase in State’s spending on Public Health and Family Welfare in last 17 years. The State has been giving priority to provide quality health services at affordable cost to all to improve health indicators. The India Fact Sheet of the National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4) released in 2017 shows that the State of Odisha has shown outstanding progress in many health and nutrition indicators since 2005-06. A persistent decline of the Infant Mortality Rate over the years, beginning in 2005-06, has resulted in the numbers going down to 40 in 2015-16 vis-a-vis the National average of 41 with a significant decline of 25 points. Similarly Maternal Mortality Rate has reduced from 367 in 1998 to 222 in 2012-13.Nutritional Indicators such as underweight children (0-5 years) and stunting among children (0-5 years) have also improved considerably.Since 2000, Odisha has made a significant improvement in institutional deliveries by62.8 points which is 2ndhighest in the country. Our innovative conditional cash transfer scheme MAMATA for 25 lakh pregnant and nursing mothers has significantly contributed to reduction of IMR & MMR, which has now been replicated by Government of India.We believe that a long-term partnership between Centre and State through National Health Mission is essential to provide much needed health services to the people of our State. Education and skills are at the core of human development. These are also the most important enablers for employment, livelihood and economic growth.The public spending on Education in Odisha (3% of GSDP) has exceeded the All States Average Spending on Educationduring last three years. It has been further stepped up to 4% of GSDP in 2017-18. To ensure inclusive education, more than five lakh SC & ST school children are being provided accommodation, food and other facilities in about 7200 Hostels. This is one of the largest such programme in the country. There has been remarkable improvement of pupil –teacher ratio from about 47 in 2002-03 to about 23 in 2016 at elementary level. The dropout rate of elementary schools has reducedsharply from an overwhelming 52 percent in 2002-03 to a low level of 4.7 percent in 2016.The support of Central Government in SSA, RMSA and RUSA has been very useful in education sector. However, there are concerns about timely and adequate release of funds from Centre under these Schemes. We have a mission to provide quality skill training to 8 lakh youth over a period of five years. We have set up Odisha Skill Development Authority to guide, coordinate, oversee and implement all skill development programmes in the State across Departments to achieve an aspirational “Skilled-in-Odisha” identity among youth as well as potential employers. It is envisioned to develop Odisha as the Skill Capital of the country during the next 20 years.We do hope that the Centre would provide requisite support in this regard. Providing social security to the vulnerable group and their economic upliftment has also been another top most priorities of the State. With the vision to provide every household a decent roof, 10 lakh kutcha houses in rural Odisha have been converted to pucca houses during the last two years making Odisha as the best performer in the Country. One of the major commitments of our Government is to provide shelter security to more than 15 lakh rural households by 2019.We have launched BASUDHA- a programme to rapidly expand piped water supply to rural and urban areas. However, the resources for Central programme for drinking water supply have actually declined. Therefore, the State Government has to provide most of the resources for such a programme. In our view, Centre should step up the outlay for rural and urban drinking water supply schemes. Financial inclusion is another important area, which need strong coordination between Centre and State to achieve the desired objective. The financial inclusion has been constrained by the lack of brick and mortar branches and lack of connectivity in the State. More than 70 per cent of our Gram Panchayats do not have a brick and mortar bank branch. We support Digital India Programme as it has an important bearing on the quality of governance. However, a major challenge facing us is lack of reliable telecom and internet connectivity in rural areas. Odisha is a connectivity deficit State with overall tele-density of about 73 per cent and rural tele-density of 49 per cent. Availability of high speed broadband in all Gram Panchayats under the Centre’s Bharat Net Project needs to be accelerated. Further, the banking system needs to give special attention to both branch & credit expansion in the State, as the Credit-Deposit ratio still lags behind other States. Odisha is prone to natural disasters like cyclone, flood, drought etc., which severely affect the growth process of the State in the form of human casualties and loss of assets, standing crops as well as animal resources. However, over the years, the State has improved its preparedness for effective handling of Natural Calamities, which has been recognized nationally and globally. This was evident in our successful handling of ‘Phailin’- 2013, the second strongest tropical cyclone since 1999, which won worldwide acclaim. We have travelled a long distance since the Super Cyclone of 1999 in building up our capability to manage and mitigate large scale disasters. However, support from Centre is very much necessary for disaster preparedness and post disaster reconstruction. All these achievements could not have been possible without sound fiscal management by the State Government. From a state of fiscal stress in late 1990s, Odisha has achieved sustainability through strong fiscal correction measures like revenue enhancement measures, expenditure rationalization and debt restructuring. Odisha follows a rule based fiscal policy since enactment of Fiscal Responsibility Legislation (FRL) in 2005. The State has been successfully achieved all fiscal targets in all the years. The State having revenue deficit of 5.4% of GSDP in 1999-2000 has been continuously achieving revenue surpluses since 2005-06. The fiscal deficit, which was more than 8% in 1999-2000 has been kept well within FRBM limit since 2004-05. The debt stock which was as high as about 51% in 2002-03 has been brought down to 15.7% in 2016-17. Through fiscal restructuring, the State has been able to create fiscal space for investment in priority sectors and improve the quality of expenditure. The State is now able to meet the committed expenditure from its own resources continuously from 2011-12 onwards.The State Plan Outlay has increased from the level of about Rs.2900 crore in 2000-01 to Rs.44,600 crore in 2016-17. The outlay for Programme Expenditure in 2017-18 (BE) is Rs.52,800 crore.The Capital Outlay has increased from Rs.799 crore in 1999-2000 to Rs.18,570 crore in 2016-17. As a percentage of GSDP, it has increased from about 1.7% to 4.9% over the period. The capital Outlay is budgeted at 5% of GSDP in 2017-18.Through prudent liquidity management, the State has not resorted to Ways & Means Advance or Overdraft from December, 2004 onwards. However, to come out of the relative backwardness of the State, there is a need for more investment in physical and social infrastructure. Additional resources from Centre, directly or indirectly, would be necessary for this purpose. The increase in devolution of Central Taxes from 32 per cent to 42 per cent following the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission is a welcome step. However, the effect of increased devolution has been offset to a large extent by several other policy decisions of the Union Government. These include, delinking of eight Centrally Sponsored Schemes from Central support, abolition of Normal Central Assistance and a steep increase in State’s share of Centrally Sponsored Schemes. For example, Pradhan Mantri Gram SadakYojana (PMGSY) was earlier fully funded by Government of India. But, now the share of Government of India has come down to 60 per cent requiring 40 per cent funding by the State Government as matching share. Justice Punchhi Commission on Centre-State relations has recommended for higher central transfers to backward States for improving their physical and human infrastructure. The State Government has been placing demand before the Government of India to allow the sharing pattern of CSS at par with North-Eastern and Himalayan States for Odisha with a high percentage of population below poverty line and belonging to ST and SC. In spite of our impressive achievements of strong growth and over-all socio-economic development in recent years, there is a historical developmental gap that needs to be bridged. In order to catch up with the developed states, there is need for Odisha to fast-track the momentum of inclusive growth. While we are trying to make best use of our resources, we do need much more resources than what we can ourselves generate. Centre should come forward for supporting us with additional financial resources and to also step-up direct investments by Central agencies and PSUs in building physical and social infrastructure in Odisha. VandeUtkal Janani Jai HindIt should be noted that India Today Conclave was started with the welcome address of Raj Chengappa, Group Editorial Director of India Today Group who described the propose of the conclave. While lauding the remarkable and encouraging growth of Odisha in various sector, placing it as a model in the country, he also emphasized on micro analysis study on district level regarding various fields in social sectors such as housing, health & hygiene, sanitation etc. He also appreciated the state government for massive industrial investment and rise in per capita income. Then after, the key note address of the Minister was delivered.