Union Budget: Odisha Seeks Rs 7,200 Cr Allocation For Rail Infra In State

Bhubaneswar: Odisha has sought provision of at least Rs 7,200 crore in the forthcoming Budget, 2021-22 for railway infrastructure in the State for the on-going projects, sanctioning of new line, station modernisation, establishment of rail based industries, multi-modal logistics parks, etc.

Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari made the demand during Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s pre-Budget consultation meeting with Finance Ministers of States.

Pujari sought allocation of at least Rs 5,650 crore for Telecom sector in the State in the 2021-22 Union Budget.
He asked for financial inclusion in the State.

The State Finance Minister sought amendment of sub-section (3) of section 8 of Central Sales Tax Act to prohibit misuse of ‘C’ Forms by the manufacturers, mining contractors, and works contractors for inter-state purchase of High Speed Diesel (HSD) paying CST @2%.

Pujari asked for provision of sufficient funds for the development and maintenance of National Highways.

He suggested the Union Finance Minister for addressing Power sector issues like amendment in tariff policy to terminate very old power purchase agreements (PPAs), amendment to Electricity Act, 2003 to allow all hydro projects under RPO obligation and enable Discoms /States’ Bulk Power procurers to participate in tenders floated by SCI for procurement of Bundled Power for reduction in power purchase cost of Discoms.

He asked for adequate provision for piped drinking water in the budget.

Pujari suggested consultation with the State Governments before taking any major policy decisions that affect sub-national finances.

He asked for stopping off-budget transfers of funds for Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS). Even if it is an off-budget resource for the Government of India, it should be routed through RBI, he added.

Pujari suggested Sitharaman allow States to operate the Centrally sponsored schemes directly instead of opening separate scheme based bank account.

He batted for advance indication on Central assistance for Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) and release of funds as per requirement.

He demanded sharing pattern for Odisha at par with North-Eastern and Himalayan States.

The State Finance Minister demanded gradual elimination of cess and surcharge on Customs duty and direct taxes.

He further sought multilateral development assistance in local currency for externally aided projects being executed by the State Government.

Lastly, Pujari hoped that the Union Finance Minister would surely consider the suggestions and demands of the State Government favourably while formulating the Union Budget.