Government grilled

Special Correspondent

State focusing on anti-poverty measures: Ghadai

State blamed for making ‘false' claims

Government announces incentives for doctors

BHUBANESWAR: The Naveen Patnaik Government had to face a difficult time in the State Assembly on Friday with the Opposition Members cornering it on the issues of the State's position as one of the poorest in the country and shortage of doctors.

The Opposition leaders grilled the government stating that poverty had become acute in the State during the past 10 years after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik came to power in March 2000.

Finance Minister Prafulla Chandra Ghadai, however, tried to put up a brave face claiming that the State's economy had witnessed growth and poverty had shown a declining trend.

Mr. Ghadai said that the government had been focussing on anti-poverty measures and poverty had decreased by 7.3 per cent in the past 10 years. The government was now spending more on infrastructure development than ever before, he added.

Opposition Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan blamed the government for making “false claims”, and charged that the government had failed on all fronts.

Earlier, Health and Family Welfare Minister Prasanna Acharya faced a series of question from both the Opposition legislators and the ruling Biju Janata Dal Members over the shortage of doctors in a large number of government-run hospitals across the State.

There were many hospitals in the interior districts where there was not a single doctor to serve the patients, they charged. Finding himself in a tight spot, Mr. Acharya said that the government was contemplating to make it mandatory for MBBS graduates passing out from the government-run medical colleges to serve for at least five years in the state after they finished their studies. The Health Minister informed the House that the government had announced a series of additional incentives for the doctors being posted in rural areas.