Odisha demands rising of tax devolution to 50pc

 Bhubaneswar, Jan 9 : Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Wednesday demanded an increase in the share of states in net taxes to 50 per cent from the current 42 per cent and a ‘special category’ status for the state.

                 Addressing the 15th Finance Commission which is currently visiting the state, the chief minister also demanded that cess and surcharges be made part of divisible pool and 1971 population be used as a criteria for tax devolution.

                 Among the major suggestions to the Commission, Patnaik sought extension of GST compensation for another 10 years and clean energy cess to be spent in coal mining areas.

                 The chief minister alleged that successive governments at the Centre have neglected Odisha, which frequently faces natural calamities.

                 Patnaik also made a special request for a Disaster Management package and sought at least Rs 1,500 crore for the state’s initiatives to build more cyclone shelters and improve warning systems.

                 Noting that the state’s transformation has been remarkable and growth inclusive, Patnaik said, “Unfortunately successive central governments have ensured that Odisha remains at the bottom in tele-intensity, railway network, banking and highways”.

                 “It is in this premise of historic Central neglect and frequent natural calamities that my government has been demanding Special Category Status for Odisha which will supplement our efforts in transforming the state,” he said.

                 The state government, he said, has submitted a detailed memorandum to the Finance Commission.

                 “I am hopeful that the Commission will incorporate all our suggestions and aid in the rapid progress of Odisha,” he said.

                 The 15th Finance Commission Tuesday had observed Odisha was nowhere near reaching its true growth potential despite being mineral-rich.

                 The commission, under the chairmanship of N K Singh, made the observations during interaction with various trade and industry bodies here on the first day of its three-day consultation programme.

                 Stating that Odisha’s economy is on a path of steady growth, Patnaik said against all odds, it has registered reasonable growth in recent years with an annual growth of about 10 per cent in 2016-17 and above 6.5 per cent in 2017-2018.

                 From a food grain-deficit state, it has become the third largest contributor to the PDS – playing a major role in the food security of the nation, he outlined.

                 Overcoming financial bankruptcy, the state is now known for its excellence in financial administration, the chief minister said.

                 “Ending corruption and nepotism, the state is now known for transparency and anti-corruption measures”, Patnaik said.

                 Odisha has brought about the highest poverty reduction in the country with 24.61 percentage points decline and 80 lakh persons coming out of poverty in last decade.

                 The state has also achieved one of the highest industrial growth rates in the country while keeping people as the primary focus, he said adding “We are the leading state in Rural Housing completing a record 20 lakh houses since 2014.

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