Special Correspondent

Consistent work on to improve the fiscal health and plan performance: Orissa

Requests the Commission to grant a one-time package of Rs.1,500 crore

NEW DELHI: The annual Plan for Orissa for 2009-10 has been fixed at Rs.9,500 crore at a meeting here between Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and State Finance Minister P.C. Ghadhai.

The Commission requested the State Government to make specific suggestions for greater flexibility in the guidelines for Centrally-sponsored schemes so as to improve implementation of these programmes. It also asked the State to make the best use of Central initiatives aimed at accelerating the development process. In this regard, the State’s attention was drawn to the Central initiative of constructing roads in naxalite-affected areas as four of its districts fell in this category.

The Commission also advised the State to resort to creative solutions in improving sectors such as health and education. It also recommended introduction of mobile health services through private participation and improvement in the quality of education. It supported the State’s request for introduction of ad valorem royalty on minerals.

Briefing the Commission, Mr. Ghadhai said the government had been consistently working for improving the State’s fiscal health and Plan performance. While efforts were on to create an investor-friendly environment and make growth more inclusive, he said the focus was on reducing regional disparities and improving infrastructure.

Pointing to the impact of the ongoing slowdown on the State economy, Mr. Ghadhai requested the Commission for grant of a one-time special package of Rs.1,500 crore.

The Centre, he said, should provide more assistance to the less-developed States for infrastructure development. He also sought speedy approval of the perspective plan for development of the Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput region. He also said that the proceeds of export duty levied on chrome ore and other minerals should be passed on entirely to the originating States.