Montek lauds government for achieving progress in several fields
The Annual Plan for Orissa for 2011-12 was finalised at Rs. 15,200 crore at a meeting held here on Wednesday between Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The Plan size marks a substantial increase over the Rs. 11,000-crore outlay that was approved for 2010-11.
In his comments on Orissa's performance, Mr. Ahluwalia lauded the State government for its achievement in many areas, especially in the task of poverty eradication and human development, and the satisfactory progress made in social sectors such as health and education.
Mr. Ahluwalia also appreciated the Orissa government's role in achieving a real average growth rate of 9.57 per cent during the first three years of the 11th Plan with a growth rate of 4.8 per cent in agriculture and its allied sectors. The government, he said, should now focus on making the growth process more inclusive and on reducing regional disparities.
The commission also advised the government to utilise science and technology better in addressing the development-related problems and drew its attention to the condition of tribal people, women, and children in the State. Complimenting the government for the good work in reforms and the exceptional port sector performance, the commission offered its expertise in handling the problems following reforms in power distribution. A team would be visiting Orissa to find a solution in this regard.
Briefing the commission, Mr. Patnaik said that his government had been assiduously pursuing the development agenda to achieve sustainable and inclusive higher economic growth, accelerated overall development, and a faster rate of poverty reduction.
The development strategies, he said, include strengthening of human development sectors such as education, health services, food and nutritional security; improving welfare of marginalised groups such as Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and women; reducing regional, social and gender disparities; and scaling up investment in agriculture, allied sectors, and infrastructure sectors.
Mr. Patnaik noted that removal of disparities was one of the important development strategies adopted by the State government. Several key initiatives were taken to address severe problems of underdevelopment and regional disparities. In this regard, he pointed to a Rs. 4,550-crore perspective Plan to expedite development in the backward Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput (KBK) districts during an eight-year period from 2009-10 to 2016-17.