By Bizodisha Burea, Bhubaneswar, February 1, 2018: Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday welcomed the announcement made by union finance minister Arun Jaitley to hike Minimum Selling Price (MSP) by 1.5 times of the cost of production of Kharif crops.

On prime minister Narendra Modi’s earlier announcement to double farmers’ income, the chief minister said, irrigation will play a major role in doubling farmers’ income. “Marginal increase in allocation for irrigation is a serious concern”, he remarked.

Besides, Naveen termed allocation for SC, ST and other vulnerable groups and social sector in the budget as ‘grossly inadequate.’

He was critical about the lack of welfare measures for the development of KBK region and other tribal areas of Odisha.

Reacting on the budgetary announcement of the National Health Protection Scheme to cover 10 crore poor families, Patnaik said it would had been better if the scheme had universal coverage.

“I am concerned about the low level of allocations for MGNREGA, Mid Day Meal Scheme and National Health Mission and PMGSY. Besides, there has been a reduction in allocation under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana,” said Patnaik.

Meanwhile, Odisha is pinning hopes on getting its desired outlay for year 2018-19 for railways against its demand of Rs 6,500 crores.

“Though Odisha government has offered to make a world class and brand new railway station at Bhubaneswar from its own funds, the railways have so far not come forward to sign the MoU,” the CM said.

“The wagon manufacturing factory at Sitalapalli has been pushed into cold storage even though the project was sanctioned in 2011-12. Though Odisha had urged the Centre to convert it into a coach manufacturing factory, the legitimate demand was ignored,” Patnaik added.

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