Odisha iterates Demands during Pre-budget Deliberations with Centre

The pre-budget deliberations between the Centre and the states have begun and the Odisha government has stated its demand for fixing the sharing pattern in the Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) at par with North-Eastern (NE) and Himalayan states along with other demands. Presently, the sharing pattern of CSS for NE and Himalayan states is 90 percent for Centre and 10 percent for these states.

The meeting was headed by the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, where the State Finance Minister, Niranjan Pujari said that the Centre should give an advance indication on Central assistance for CSS and release funds as per the commitment. He also suggested that the Centre should stop off-budget transfers of funds for CSS, adding that even an off-budget resource should be routed through the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). A request for the states to operate CSS directly instead of opening separate scheme-based bank accounts was also made.

Pujari said that the Centre should address issues in the power sector such as amendment in tariff policy to terminate outdated power purchase agreements (PPAs), and amendment of Electricity Act, 2003 to allow all hydro projects under the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO).

Additionally, steps should be taken to enable the distribution companies/state’s bulk power procurers to participate in tenders floated by Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) such that the cost of power distribution is reduced.

The state government has also sought ₹7,200 crores for railway infrastructure and ₹5,650 crores for the development of the telecom sector in the state, in the upcoming 2021-22 Union Budget.

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