Stability provides unrestrained space for growth in Odisha: Governor

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 5 (PTI) Odisha Governor Raghubar Das on Monday said the state has performed phenomenally well in several sectors, as stability has provided an unrestrained space for growth and development.

Addressing the Odisha Assembly on the opening day of its budget session, the governor also congratulated the state government for organising the first-ever World Odia Language Conference in Bhubaneswar and thanked the administration on the inauguration of the newly-built campus of Odia University at Satyabadi in Puri district.

"It will play a significant role in further enriching the state language Odia which is spoken by over 84 per cent of Odisha's population," he said.

However, the Opposition Congress raised objections over the Governor's address and alleged that it is unfortunate that the state government is putting words in the mouth of the governor to praise self. "Objecting to the governor's praise of the state government, we are walking out of the House", Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra said before leading the walkout.

Reiterating that the state government is firmly committed in unequivocal terms to develop all regions of the state and empower all sections of the people, the governor said: "The year gone by was a year of resurgence, strong economic growth and perceptible transformation in public service delivery".

He said technology has transformed delivery of good governance and public goods and services. "My state has performed phenomenally well in several sectors, as stability has provided the state an unrestrained space for growth and development", he said.

Despite several challenges during the year 2023, the governor noted that the state government has made a remarkable journey and is now "distinctly positioned as a progressive state" setting important national and global benchmarks worth emulation.

"My government is untiringly striving to eradicate poverty, reduce regional disparities and gender differences through various pro-people initiatives and will continue to prioritise the delivery of essential services, creation of livelihood opportunities and development of key and basic infrastructure including connectivity.... ", Das said.

The governor informed the House that the overall law and order situation in the state has remained by and large peaceful while the impact of Left Wing Extremism (LWE) has remarkably declined due to proactive operational and administrative response.

"As many as 42 Maoist cadres were neutralised in police action, 145 were arrested and 63 surrendered. Besides, 162 guns, 480 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and a large quantity of other articles have been recovered during anti-Maoist operations", the governor said, adding that the number of LWE-affected districts now stands reduced to 10 from 21 due to proactive response of security personnel.

The governor also highlighted that under operation "Ghar Wapsi" in Swabhiman Anchal of Malkangiri district, once a stronghold of LWE, more than 3,200 active militias and supporters have returned back to the social mainstream.

Noting that Odisha is one of the fastest-growing states in India, the governor said that Odisha's post-COVID growth revival is quite exemplary in terms of economic growth as per Advanced Estimate 2022-23 of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).

"The state economy has witnessed an annual average growth rate of 6.47 per cent at 2011-12 prices during the period from 2012-13 to 2022-23 (AE), which is higher than the National/ Indian Annual Average Growth rate of 5.59 per cent. As per the advance estimate, Odisha's economy has registered a growth rate of 7.8 per cent in 2022-23 (AE) at 2011-12 prices which is higher than the Indian economy projected to grow by 7.0 per cent in 2022-23 (AE)", Das said.

Similarly, the governor said the growth rate of agriculture and allied sector of the state during 2022-23 (AE) at 2011-12 prices has increased by 6 per cent, whereas, in industries and service sector, a growth rate of 6.1 per cent and 8.8 per cent respectively has been achieved.

"The per capita income in Odisha at current prices has grown significantly at 16.9 per cent in 2022-23 (AE) to reach 71.51 lakh from 71.29 lakh in 2021-22. Further, the unemployment growth rate of Odisha has declined from 7.1 per cent in 2017-18 to 6.2 per cent in 2019-20", he said, adding that under "Critical Gap Fund for District Plan, Rs 42 crore has been provisioned for 30 districts to address the basic rural infrastructure needs on priority with special emphasis on zero connectivity areas, health and drinking water.

Stating that 10 towns and cities in Odisha have already been made slum-free, the governor said all urban areas in the state will become slum-free by December 2024.

On the farm sector, the governor said food grain production in the state has touched 141.36 lakh metric tonne (MT) during 2022-23, which is almost two-and-a-half times the production of 55.35 MT during 2000-01. Similarly, the production of rice has touched an all-time high of 2,936 kg per hectare exhibiting nearly threefold increase over 1,041 kg per hectare during the same period, he said.

While praising the state over the implementation of the Srimandir Parikrama Prakalpa or Heritage Corridor project, the governor said this now provides an opportunity to devotees, pilgrims and visitors to enhance their spiritual experience of the temple, Neelachakra and Meghanad Pachery (boundary wall), provide state-of-the-art amenities to the visitors, and strengthen the safety and security of the devotees.

He also mentioned the state government’s initiatives like the Shree Jagannath Express for seamless transportation to this 12th-century shrine in Puri and, the dedication of the redeveloped Samaleswari Temple in Sambalpur district. PTI AAM BBM AAM RG