Odisha under Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has transformed itself as a state on the move, with the state government undertaking reforms across all sectors over the years, be it for good governance, economy, pro-people initiatives for inclusive development, ease of doing business, security and shelter for all, or women’s empowerment. Substantial progress has already been made in the implementation of initiatives to attract private investment and to progressively address the challenges in achieving sustainable economic growth and accelerating human development.
The state government envisages Rs 1.73 lakh crore of new investments and creation of 3.30 lakh new jobs. To achieve this vision, the state government has taken up a number of new initiatives. A new industry-friendly policy has been launched recently along with a series of reforms in the regulatory environment. The efforts are showing, with Odisha securing the seventh position in improving the investment climate and making it easy for companies, ahead of a number of other industrially progressive states in the country, in the rankings released by the World Bank and the Government of India.
The Naveen Patnaik government has taken many pro-people initiatives over the years. The “Niramay” scheme aims at free distribution of medicines to patients in all government hospitals.
The “Mukhyamantri Sadak Yojana” aims at all-weather connectivity requirements of the population not eligible under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana or any other connectivity programme. The Biju Expressway, considered the lifeline of western Odisha, envisages connecting eight backward districts of western Odisha and the Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput (KBK) region.
Under the Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana, the state government is committed to converting all kutcha houses to pucca ones by 2019. The recently launched “Abaas” scheme is part of the Odisha Urban Housing Mission and envisages providing residents of urban areas access to housing options in the state. The government of Odisha has launched the “Gopabandhu Grameen Yojana” to provide additional developmental assistance to the targeted 11 districts not covered under the “Backward Regions Grant Fund” launched by the Government of India. Now, the scheme is being implemented in all the 30 districts of the state. The “Odisha State Policy for Girls and Women (Empowering women)” aims at ensuring an enabling environment for girls and women that promotes equal opportunities, eliminates discrimination, and achieves holistic development.
In all, 100 Aahaar centres in all 30 districts are providing affordable meals for the needy in urban areas. Odisha has started 101 more Aahaar centres across the state. These will provide affordable meals to more than 60,000 people in urban and industrial townships and 80 more such centres are going to come up shortly.
DISTRIBUTION OF BONUS TO KENDU LEAF PLUCKERS
The bonus amount of Rs 32.10 crore (100%) has already been distributed to Kendu leaf pluckers. This was disclosed at a review of the Forest and Environment Department by Additional Chief Secretary to the Chief Minister on 4 May 2016. The department is facilitating enrolment of puckers, binders and seasonal workers.
About 8 lakh pluckers and binders have been covered under the Aam Admi Bima Yojana under LIC.
Kendu leaf pluckers and binders are also covered under the “KL Pluckers and Binders Welfare Trust”.
Enrolment of Kendu leaf pluckers, binders and seasonal workers under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana and the Biju Krushak Kalyan Yojana has been stopped by order of the GoI.
FOREST & ENVIRONMENT DEPARTMENT
Around 7,000 VSSs are proposed to be covered under the Ama Jungle Yojana (AJY), which are located in 30 Territorial and Wildlife Divisions of the state. These 7,000 are those VSSs which have not been covered under OSFDP Phase 1 or not included under OFSDP Phase-II proposal. The Forest & Environment Department may furnish a quarterly report on implementation of the above scheme.
SACRED GROVES PLAN
The Odisha government has been trying to win the confidence of some tribal communities opposed to industrialisation, mining and displacement by protecting the sacred groves, which hold tremendous socio-ethnic value for the indigenous population. The year-wise sacred groves to be taken up by the state government are given in the accompanying table.
GREEN PASSAGE SCHEME
The Odisha government’s “Green Passage” scheme aims at providing free higher education to orphans. Around 16,000 students would benefit from the scheme across 272 organisations. The scheme will function under the Department of Higher Education. Under the scheme, orphan students from class 12 to those at post graduate level will also be provided with free hostel accommodation.
The state government would bear the total cost of these students, irrespective of the fact that they pursue their studies in private or government colleges and universities. The Chief Minister has called the “Green Passage” scheme a historic initiative for social welfare and said that education would help empower orphans by ensuring a good future for them.
Biju Yuva Shashaktikaran Yojana
The scheme aims to empower students by providing them with free text books, bicycles, laptops and scholarships that will help nurture excellence in students.
As per the scheme, pregnant women registered with Anganwadi centres receive Rs 5,000 in four instalments through bank accounts. The instalments have been designed to ensure that the beneficiary gets cash assistance every three months.
Pregnant and lactating women of 19 years of age and above for the first two live births will get benefit from the scheme. The scheme has gained wide popularity and some 22.5 lakh enrollments were done till January 2016.