World Bank said Odisha witnessed a remarkable turnaround in the last 20 years

Bhubaneswar: The World Bank has said Odisha has witnessed a remarkable turnaround in the last 20 years and is at par with best-performing States in the country.

The bank in its Odisha Rapid State Diagnostic Report has pointed out that the pace of poverty reduction was fastest in the country after 2005. While the State Administration has come a very long way in bringing its finances back on track, it has made substantial improvements in Human Development Indicators (HDI).

World Bank Country Director for India, Junaid Kamal Ahmad in his report said that Odisha has been a leading reformer in urban and agriculture sectors.

The State has brought the transformational urban reforms and investment in inclusive and sustainable urban services and Odisha is the best performer so far as effective implementation of AMRUT scheme is concerned. And in bringing in reforms, Odisha stands second position in the country, said the World Bank in its report.

The World Bank has said average monthly income of agricultural household is nearly doubled in the State. Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of Odisha was 11.6 percent in 2016-17, and CAGR of India was 8.6 percent during the fiscal.

Pointing out the risks and challenges ahead for Odisha, the World Bank has said that the State’s economy concentrated in primary sectors is vulnerable to external shocks. Take for example, the State is continuously facing natural disasters and its economy is getting poorer each time a cyclone, storm or flood hits the State.

High exposure to disaster risk is posing a problem for the State, said the report. Agriculture and allied sector, which is the primary sector, is facing wrath of nature and growth in the sector is fluctuating due to external shocks. It has pointed out that more than half of the workforce of the State is still in the agriculture sector.

And there is a growing deficit of good jobs and jobs for women. It is seen that poverty remains high and concentrated amongst certain places and groups and HDI needs improvement. Social protection and human capital investments are fragmented and have limited coverage, pointed out the international bank.

In this backdrop, the World Bank has advised to take Odisha to the next level for which expediting economic transformation is needed along with strengthening State capabilities to eliminate poverty and has suggested more investment in human capital. The State Government is needed to forge ahead a sustainable and resilient future with unfinished reforms agenda and further to strengthen resilience to natural disasters, advised the World Bank.

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