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Odisha Seeks Formation Of National Pool To Meet Additional Disaster Expenses


18 October 2018

Ajesh Mallick


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Bhubaneswar: In view of the losses faced by the State Government in the recent very severe cyclonic storm 'Titli' and subsequent floods, Odisha has proposed formation of a national pool consisting of few other States to cover the additional expenses, which the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) is not able to meet.

Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera today said the relief expenditure in the SDRF and allocated through the NDRF to any State facing a natural calamity is not always sufficient. If a State requires Rs 1000 crore to cover its losses, only Rs 200 to 300 crore is being allocated to it.

While immediate fund is being released for relief and rehabilitation purpose, the allocated budget is not sufficient for the reconstruction of the roads and restoration of other essential services, he added.

State Governments have to face a lot of problem due to the lack of funds and Odisha is one such State which is prone to natural calamities. Therefore, a discussion in this regard was held in the 30th meeting of the GST Council in New Delhi on October 15 which was attended by a group of ministers from seven States including Odisha.

The participating States have been asked to submit their recommendations on whether a national pool be formed or arrangements to be made at State-level to meet the expenses, said Behera.

He however stated, though Kerala had earlier sought permission from the GST Council to impose extra tax to cover the losses it faced during the recent floods, it is not feasible in view of the one nation, one tax principle as the hike will adversely affect the price of the products in other States and will be an extra burden on people who have suffered in the natural disaster.

If a national pool is formed as per federal structure, five to ten States will be part of it and during any natural disaster in one State rest States will extend their support. The decision will be taken in the next GST Council meeting in November, after taking recommendations from other States and concerned bodies.

"We hope a decision will be taken at national-level with involvement of GST Council and arrangements will be made to support concerned States to face the rehabilitation and reconstruction challenges," said Behera.

Also Read: Cyclone Titli Aftermath: 60 Lakh Population Affected, More Than Rs 2765 Crore Loss, Says SRC

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Sashibhusan Behera, Minister, Finance, Odisha