Bhubaneswar: The opposition Congress Friday boycotted Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal’s address to the Assembly on the opening day of the budget session saying it did not contain measures to help farmers in distress, contain rising crimes against women and corruption.
As the Governor began reading out his 48-page speech, Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra stood up and announced his party’s decision to boycott the address.
Following this, all the nine Congress MLAs staged a walkout.
There is nothing in the Governor’s address to help farmers facing problems across the state, the worsening law and order situation – particularly crime against women, and rising corruption, Mishra told reporters outside the House.
BJP, which is the principal Opposition, however, was present at the House during the Governor’s address.
In his one-hour long speech, Lal dwelt upon the successes of the Naveen Patnaik government, its public welfare schemes and the plan of the state for 2020-21.
On the state’s fiscal situation, the governor said, “My government is committed to increase investment in priority sector within prudent fiscal norms and at the same time, it is capable of increasing capital investment to above five per cent of GSDP.”
He said the state government has achieved debt sustainability from a position of debt stress. The debt-GSDP ratio has been brought down from 50.7 per cent in 2002-03 to 16.8 per cent in 2018-19. The interest payment to revenue receipt ratio has been brought down from 40.2 per cent in 2001-02 to 5.8 per cent in 2018-19.
“Prudent level of debt stock has given us an opportunity to go for higher capital investment for accelerating the growth momentum,” the Governor said.
Stating that the state government is committed to the welfare of sections of the society, he told the House that it proposes to sanction 100 hostels with accommodation capacity for 10,000 OBC and Socially and Educationally Backward Caste (SEBC) students to help them access higher education in 14 major urban educational hubs in Odisha.
He spoke of the state’s efforts to promote education among the scheduled tribe and scheduled caste students by opening hostels and providing scholarships – both for pre-matric and post-matric stages.
On the welfare measures for farmers, the Governor said their income has more than doubled and Odisha is poised to multiply it through more proactive developmental interventions in line with the national agenda of doubling the farmers’ income.
The government has remained watchful on the development of the people of low-income group and introduced the KALIA scheme for this purpose.
A goal has been fixed to include 50 lakh small and 25 lakh landless farmers’ families under this scheme in the coming days, the governor said.
The state government has brought services of agriculture under the 5Ts and Mo Sarkar programmes from December, 2019 with the objective of enhancing the delivery mechanism and reaching out to every corner of the state.
“Every district has in place a ‘Mo Sarkar’ desk to take on the programme at a great pace, he said.
The state government, he said, believes in people’s participation in administration and in this direction the programmes like 5Ts and Mo Sarkar are important enterprises.
‘Mo Sarkar’, which means ‘My Government’ in Odia, is a transformative initiative of 5-T programme, which was introduced by Naveen Patnaik after he returned to power as the Chief Minister of the state for a fifth consecutive term in 2019. The 5Ts are transparency, teamwork, technology and time leads to transformation.
Lal described the state government’s steps for development of infrastructure facilities around Puri Srimandir and said similar measures are also being taken to transform the facilities near the Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar.
After the devastation by Cyclone Fani, the state government had approved 15 projects in 2019 with likely cost of Rs 2,308 crore for the development of Puri into a world class heritage site, the Governor said.
Another six projects with cost of around Rs 900 crore have also been planned to be taken up to add to the heritage glory of Puri city, he said.