Odisha seeks increase of tax devolution to 50%

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Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday requested the 15th Finance Commission to increase tax devolution from 42 to 50 per cent.

Addressing the Commission, the Chief Minister suggested that the 1971 population should be used as devolution criteria.

Patnaik also suggested making cess and surcharges as part of divisible pool, extension of Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation for another 10 years and the introduction of clean energy cess to be spent in coal mining areas.

He also sought granting a special package for disaster management of at least Rs 1,500 crore to build more cyclone shelters and improve early warning systems in the state.

“We have submitted a detailed memorandum to the Commission. I am hopeful that it will incorporate all our suggestions and aid in the rapid progress of Odisha,” the Chief Minister said.

He said the state has achieved the highest poverty reduction in the country — 24.61 percentage points decline — with 80 lakh persons coming out of poverty in the last decade.

He said Odisha was the leading state in rural housing, completing a record 20 lakh houses since 2014.

“Our pace of transformation has been remarkable and our growth has been inclusive. Unfortunately, successive Central government has ensured that Odisha remains at the bottom in tele-intensity, railway network, banking and highways compounded by neglect in industrial corridor, coal royalty, drinking water and irrigation and cutting off funds for Scheduled Areas and Kalahandi, Balangir, Koraput region,” said the Chief Minister.

“It is in this premise of historic Central neglect and frequent natural calamities that my government has been demanding Special Category Status for Odisha which will supplement our efforts in transforming the state,” he added.

The Finance Commission led by Chairman N.K. Singh is on a four-day visit to the state to hold detailed meetings with the state government.