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Odisha govt moves to reboot industry, infra in slums

Public health strengthened, trade license eased, govt guarantee for Gridco

Statesman News Service | Bhubaneshwar |

Recognizing the need to re-invent economic and industrial polices in tune with the unprecedented pandemic related downturn, Odisha cabinet today amended its industrial policy, trade license process and labor laws to facilitate revival of the industrial and business sector.

The cabinet chaired by CM Naveen Patnaik , on video conference from his residence), also decided to earmark capital investment in slum areas, enhanced public health related schemes and extended government guarantee to Gridco.

The cabinet proposed to promulgate an Ordinance to enhance the punishment as provided in the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 to imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend up to Rs 1 lakh or with both. Keen on rebooting the industrial sector, the government revised the definition ( in the IPR 2015) of priority list, negative list and downstream industries to enable MSMEs and Large industries to expand and diversify as well as set up new units.It decided to provide VAT reimbursement for the industries.

The cabinet also approved amendment of the Factory Act 1958 to raise three-month overtime threshold for the industrial workers from 75 hours to 115 hours. Besides, a worker upon joining any industrial unit can avail leave after 180 days as against 240 days.

Provisional trade license with a validity up to 5 years will henceforth be issued on the day of application. In the contest of the pandemic and the vexed issues in slums across urban areas of the state, the government said 25 per cent capital expenditure provision will be done in the annual budget. It also cleared four drinking water projects estimated to cost Rs 827 crore.

Nirmal Plus scheme to improve cleanliness in 45 new medical facilities and Nirmal Plus Plus scheme for tertiary medical facilities was cleared by the cabinet. Of the total budget estimale of Rs.199815.46 lakh , Rs. 187427.29 lakh would be met under State budget and Rs.123,88.17 lakh would be from the NHM.

The state cabinet approved the tender for the Gangadhar Meher Lift irrigation project estimated at Rs 1138.63 crore. It has a potential to irrigate 25,600 hectares of agricultural land in 124 villages across Bargarh and Subarnapur districts. The construction will be done through Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) and is to be completed in 30 months.

GRIDCO has been facing financial problems due to power purchase costs was provided with a govt guarantee of Rs.1500 crore for the loans already availed during FY 2019–20. The government proposed to frame the Odisha Civil Services (Discontinuation of interview or viva-voce Test) Rules, 2020 for Group C recruitment.

Significantly, the cabinet accorded post-facto approval of decisions taken by the empowered group of ministers relating to price for COVID testing by private labs, constitution of committee for death audit, fixation of rate for RT-PCR tests by private labs etc.