**Bhubaneswar: ** The Odisha Economic Survey-2017-18 report, tabled in the Assembly on the third of its ongoing Budget Session, reveals that the State has the distinction of achieving the largest poverty reduction of 24.6 percentage points from 52.2 percent to 32.6 percent between 2004-05 and 2011-12.
As per the Economic Survey’s observations on Poverty and Human Development, “Poverty declined among SCs and STs by 26.51 and 20.88 percentage points.”
“Northern, southern and coastal regions recorded poverty reduction with 30.53, 25.40 and 19.95 percentage points respectively,” it further revealed.
The Economic Survey also points out, “The magnitude of deprivation showed significant reduction from 17.7 to 7.01 for rural areas. With the availability of Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC 2011), poverty in Odisha has been in a sense redefined, re-measured and re-identified following the principles adopted for the SECC 2011.”
While the findings of SECC 2011 evaluate the predefined criteria of automatic exclusion, inclusion and deprivation, the poverty profile of Odisha has been prepared on the basis of the combined criteria of deprivation and compulsory inclusion.
The Economic Survey Report also states:
• With 72.9 percent literacy rate, Odisha is at par with national average.
• Odisha’s GSDP is estimated to grow at 7.14 percent as against the national average of 6.5 percent for India.
• The year 2016-17 saw an unprecedented growth of nearly 20 percent in agriculture after a severe contraction of over (-) 13 percent in 2015-16.
• The share of Industry sector in Odisha’s GSDP at 35 percent is significant and the manufacturing GVA in the organized industrial sector is 88 percent, which is much more than the corresponding national average.
• On the Employment front, Odisha has made notable improvements in Worker Population Ratio (WPR) with 46.09 percent and Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) with 53.2 percent by reaching closer to national average of 47.8 percent and 53.2 percent respectively in 2015-16.
• The unemployment rate (UR) in Odisha at 3.8 percent in 2015-16 was almost at par with 3.7 percent in the country. Ironically, the richer States like Goa, Kerala and Punjab with high per capita income have higher UR at 9, 10.6 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively.
• Urban Odisha recorded a higher UR of 4.4 percent than rural Odisha (3.7 percent) in 2015-16.
• The FRBM (Amendment) Act, 2011 has made it mandatory for the State to generate revenue surplus, keep the fiscal deficit within 3% of GSDP, achieve Debt/GSDP ratio (25%) at Finance Commission recommendation level.
Reacting to this Economic Survey Report, Congress Chief Whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati remarked, “As has been done earlier by the State Government and has bagged prizes four times from the Centre in agriculture by submitting false data and documents, the same strategy has been applied here and being boasted that poverty has reduced.”
“If poverty has really reduced, why then the State Government demanded special category status? Amazingly, the State Government is demanding special category status citing poverty of Odisha while now claiming poverty has reduced. It’s unfortunate,” the senior Congress MLA lambasted.
BJP MLA Pradip Purohit said, “Paddy production has increased in the country as well as in Odisha. If the Economic Survey Report states that poverty has reduced here, Centre’s several schemes and programmes implemented here are also the reasons behind it. As the Union Minister stated in Rajya Sabha yesterday that the rate of farmer suicide has increased in Odisha, it also needs to be reviewed.”
On the contrary, Government Chief Whip Amar Prasad Satpathy defended, “In comparison to other States, the growth rate of our State is higher.”
“Poverty has certainly reduced. Fluctuation in growth rate is due to natural disaster, as the agricultural sector is being affected. It is also due to the impact of recession in the country as other States have also been affected,” he explained.