New Delhi: The Budget session of the Parliament which got adjourned sine die ahead of its schedule Monday due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, addressed some key demands of the state but left many others unaddressed.
The long-standing demand of the state seeking inclusion of Konark in the list of iconic tourist sites was accepted by the Union government during the session. With the efforts of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MPs, the Union government also released Rs 186 crore to Odisha as basic grant for urban local bodies and pending amount under the Union Ministry of Food and Public Distribution were released after the efforts of MPs during the budget session. However, several old issues of the state remained unaddressed. The party MPs could not push for the issues strongly in the session. Establishment of a legislative council was another major issue for the ruling BJD in the previous sessions of the Parliament. However, in the Budget session the BJD MPs could not raise the issue extensively. The issue of women reservation also went missing from the agenda. The ruling BJD also urged the Union government for enumeration of SEBC and OBC in Census 2021 but there was no positive response from the Centre.
The first phase of the budget session came up with a setback for Odisha as the Union budget did not enlist any site in the list of iconic archaeological sites. The ruling party MPs raised issues on revision in the coal royalty and infrastructure boost to the state during the session. While speaking on the bills and demands for grants for various ministries, the state MPs urged the Centre to improve the railway connectivity in the state. They also urged the Centre for exploring the tourism potential of the state. The BJD and Congress MPs also raised several issues pertaining to their areas.
Setting up of a High Court bench in Western Odisha, issue of rise in cancer cases in the state, establishment of a tribal museum, exemption of income tax on DMF fund, increase in wages in MGNREGA and setting up of testing centres for COVID-19 sample test were the other major issues raised by the state MPs in the Parliament.
“We have appreciated the steps the Union government has taken related to Odisha. At the same time we also raised our concerns to which we got some favourable attention. Some were addressed and some need to be addressed. Number of issues related to Odisha were raised and certain questions were also answered like the Konark issue and also related to finance,” said Bhartruhari Mahtab.
The session also faced disruptions due to Delhi riots and held discussions on the riots post Holi vacations.