Bhubaneswar: Raising the issue of political discrimination against Odisha allegedly by the BJP led NDA government, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked people to intensify fight against the Centre for their rights. “The Centre too has responsibility for the development of the state under federal system. But, unfortunately though the Central government admits that Odisha’s fiscal management is better than others, it deducted state’s share in the 14th Finance Commission grants,” Patnaik said while addressing a function marking the 99th birth anniversary of his father Biju Patnaik here.
Is it wrong to perform a better fiscal management, he said, adding, that the states having bad track records on financial management got good share through 14th Finance Commission. “This kind of discrimination will certainly weaken the federal system of governance,” Patnaik said. When Odisha has all the ingredients to be accorded a special category state status, the Centre denied it, he said, asking “Is not it a discrimination?”. He said that about 25 per cent of the state’s population was tribals and the state has hilly regions and forests.
“When the Centre announced special assistance for Bihar and West Bengal in the 2015-16 budget, it easily ignored Odisha’s long standing demand of the status of a special category state,” the chief minister said. Stating that Odisha has been a victim of natural calamities for which the state’s economy suffers a lot, Patnaik alleged that the state has been a victim of political discrimination by successive Central governments.
However, Patnaik said the people of Odisha should now awake and intensify their fight for their rights against the Centre. Patnaik, who is also the president of the ruling BJD, flagged off a mini marathon here held on the birth anniversary of his father Biju Patnaik, who is a former Chief Minister of the state. The day is also being observed as the Panchayati Raj Day in the state.