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Odisha CM demands special category status for state

Statesman News Service | Bhubaneswar |

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who drew flak from opposition quarters for skipping the Niti Ayog meeting at Delhi on Sunday, on Monday circulated his written note demanding special category state status, cost based MSP for all crops and a National policy on farm loan waiver.

It may be recalled that yesterday the Congress and BJP had criticised CM Naveen Patnaik for not attending the Niti Ayog meeting. The ruling BJD had countered saying the CM had sent his views and demands in a written form.

On Monday, the government released the note addressed to PM Narendra Modi.

With a high percentage of population belonging to Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes and the State facing frequent natural calamities, Odisha deserves to be accorded “Special Category State” status to fast track the ongoing development and may be treated at par with North-Eastern & Himalayan States for the sharing pattern of Centrally Sponsored Schemes stated the CM.

On the farm sector, he said a vital step would be to increase the Minimum Support Price for the crops.

Though the announcement made in the union Budget that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) will be kept for all crops at least at one and half times of the production cost is a welcome one, the cost of production must take into account the actual cost incurred by farmers on a realistic basis, he said.

Apart from assured and remunerating marketing, policy reforms are also needed to provide access, adequacy and timeliness of institutional credit.

In order to relieve the farmers from the agrarian distress, we should have a National Policy on Loan Waiver.

He suggested creation of a Credit Guarantee Trust for Agriculture (CGTA) on the lines of Credit Guarantee Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) through which collateral free agricultural loans up to Rs.50 lakhs and collateral free crop loans up to Rs. 2 lakhs could be extended backed only by the guarantee of CGTA.

He also called for implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee for farmers on a fast track mode.