Bhubaneswar: Amid boycott of his address in the Assembly by opposition Congress and BJP, Governor SC Jamir on Friday announced the launch of "Odisha Urban Livelihood Mission" and said the state's growth rate has surpassed the national average despite global economic slowdown.
As soon as the Governor began addressing the opening day of the Budget session, Congress stalwart and leader of opposition Narasingha Mishra and BJP legislature party leader Basant Panda were on their feet hitting out at the BJD government over the chit fund scam and other issues.
Accusing the government of adopting undemocratic methods during the last Assembly session, opposition leaders sought the Governor's intervention to ensure healthy discussion in the House to uphold democratic traditions before leading walkout by their respective party legislators.
Listing achievements of the state government, the Governor said despite the adverse impact of global economic slowdown, Odisha registered a reasonably high average annual growth rate of 6.84 percent during the first two years of the 12th plan as against national average of 4.7 percent.
Jamir said the 77 urban local bodies (ULBs) that were left out of the National Urban Livelihood Mission, have been brought under a new scheme, called "Odisha Urban Livelihood Mission" and it would be launched soon by the state government as a state funded programme.
He said improvement in fiscal situation has given considerable space to shift focus to create capital assets, which is being financed from the surplus that government is able to generate in revenue account.
"We have not resorted to any market borrowing since last eight years and this is a good lesson for others to emulate," Jamir said. "The real per capita income in Odisha at 2004-05 prices has increased from Rs 14,862 in 1999-2000 to Rs 25,415 in 2012-13 and Odisha is the only state in the country where there is highest reduction in poverty levels of 24.6 percent between 2004-05 and 2011-12," Jamir said.
Noting that the government with a focus on farm sector has adopted an exclusive budget on agriculture, he said the state is set to register the highest ever foodgrain production of 120 lakh tons this year due to the resilience displayed by farmers in the aftermath of cyclones Phailin and Hudhud.
Affirming government's commitment to provide irrigation to every farmer up to 5 hectare in Khariff season and 2 hectare in Rabi season, Jamir said the target has been set to disburse Rs 8,500 crore crop loans in 2015-16.
To augment steady supply of qualified and skilled manpower to farm sector, the government has decided to set up a second Agriculture University in KBK region, he said.
Terming left wing extremism as a big challenge, the Governor said significant achievements of law and order machinery in containing this must be appreciated and encouraged and their resolve to eradicate such a menace hindering growth and development of vulnerable sections of society must be strengthened.Stating that Government is working to fill security vacuum in new areas by augmenting the strength of Special Operatino Group and special intelligence wing, Jamir said the strength of District voluntary Force was being doubled.
While four special security battalions and Odisha Special Striking Force were created by including ex-servicemen for guarding vulnerable police stations and jails, the government has also created Odisha Auxiliary Police Force by inducting local tribal youth from affected districts to strengthen the district police, he said.
Providing shelter security to the rural poor is another priority sector, the Governor said adding through its flagship "Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana", the government proposed to convert all kutcha houses in rural areas into pucca houses.
The Government has allotted around 42,000 houses under the yojana and proposed to complete at least one lakh houses under rural housing programme including these houses through incentives during the current financial year, he said adding Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana houses would be allotted only in favour of women in order to empower them in rural areas.
To achieve the goal of inclusive urbanisation, the government has decided to constitute Odisha Capital Region Development Authority (OCRDA) for planned urbanisation and holistic development of the capital region, he said adding the government is also developing two rail corridors connecting Angul to Duburi and Sukinda.
On power sector, Jamir said the government has taken a slew of measures including construction of 600 mw power plant by OPGC, formed a joint venture between OMC and OHPC, for setting up 3X800 mw thermal power plant besides providing all requisite support to NTPC's project to generate 7,200 mws.
Government has decided to execute 18 more grid sub-stations and lay 1,025 circuit kilometres of lines in the days ahead, he said.