Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Niranjan Patnaik on Sunday welcomed Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s announcement of formation of a committee under Raghuram Rajan, Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India, to establish a new criteria for backwardness of States. The committer has been asked to give its report within 30 days.
In a statement, Mr. Patnaik has expressed confidence that immediately after the committee gives its report, the criteria will be revised and the State will be accorded special category status fulfilling a long standing demand of the people of the State.
The OPCC president also expressed concern over the misuse of the Central government funds. “It is true that the UPA government has been providing substantial funds to the State under various Central schemes which unfortunately the State government is not able to utilise properly and fully,” he said.
“Massive misutilisation of the Central funds and using every subterfuge to gain political mileage from Central largesse has become common place in the State under the present Biju Janata Dal government. The CAG has repeatedly castigated the State government for misuse of Central funds. It is time that a high-level fast track enquiry is instituted to expose the massive pilferage of public money,” Mr. Patnaik said reiterating the demand that he had made recently through a memorandum to the Prime Minister.
The Congress had taken up the demand for grant of special category status to the State with the Centre after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik kept raising the same before the Centre.
The BJD had also launched a campaign across the State to highlight its demand for special category State status. The party is now carrying out a signature campaign to collect one crore signatures to send to the Centre seeking special category State status for the State.