A resolution seeking grant of special category State status to Odisha by the Centre was passed unanimously in the State Assembly on Thursday.

The motion, moved by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, was passed unanimously after a marathon discussion on the issue that had got the support from all political parties in the State in the recent times.

Moving the motion seeking passage of a resolution requesting the Centre to declare Odisha as a special category State, Mr. Patnaik questioned Centre’s intentions of revisiting the criteria for according special category status to States.

“If the Centre is indeed keen on revisiting the criteria for special category status, why is it not doing so immediately, Mr. Patnaik asked, while urging all legislators to unanimously support the motion.

The Chief Minister also raised questions on the manner in which the Centre dealt with the issue of special category status for States.

“What is the necessity of making a budget statement one day and then following up with announcement about one State on one day and another State after a week? Is it not sheer political bargaining,” he queried.

Pointing out that both the 10th and 11th Odisha Legislative Assemblies adopted unanimous resolutions urging Centre to declare Odisha as a special category State, Mr. Patnaik said that his government had been pursuing the demand with the Centre since 2001.

Per capita income

Justifying the demand, Mr. Patnaik said that the State’s real per capita income had increased to 70 per cent of national average in 2010-11. “This implies the State may take, at this rate, at least three decades to catch up with national average,” he observed.

Though the State had made certain progress in the economic front its economic base was still comparatively small and the State was vulnerable to frequent natural calamities, Mr. Patnaik said while speaking in support of the demand.

The Chief Minister said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his predecessor Atal Behari Vajpayee had also been requested to consider the State’s demand for special category status.