Up­wardly Mo­bile

The In­dia To­day State of the State Con­clave hon­ours the change agents driv­ing Odisha’s trans­for­ma­tion from a poverty-stricken state to a fron­trun­ner in eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment

India Today - - THE STATE OF THE STATE - By Priya Ran­jan Sahu

From a rice-deficit state, we are the third largest con­trib­u­tor of rice to the pub­lic dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem in the coun­try. From a state known for sub­sis­tence agri­cul­ture to the only state that has dou­bled farmer’s in­come in the last decade. From a state known for mis­man­age­ment of nat­u­ral dis­as­ters to set­ting global bench­marks in dis­as­ter man­age­ment—Odisha has def­i­nitely moved for­ward,” said Odisha Chief Min­is­ter Naveen Pat­naik at the in­dia to­day State of the State Con­clave in Bhubaneswar on Oc­to­ber 27.

The State of the State re­port for Odisha was re­leased on the oc­ca­sion. The com­pre­hen­sive anal­y­sis, con­ducted by in­dia to­day with the In­sti­tute for Hu­man De­vel­op­ment, assesses the state’s 30 dis­tricts (see: Sun Rises Over Odisha) over the past two decades across 10 cat­e­gories: ed­u­ca­tion, health, agri­cul­ture, in­dus­try, ser­vices, law and or­der, in­fra­struc­ture, wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion, pros­per­ity and over­all de­vel­op­ment. Pat­naik gave away the awards for Best Dis­trict and Most Im­proved Dis­trict in each cat­e­gory. Seven dis-

tricts were hon­oured with Spe­cial Men­tion Awards.

Re­cently un­der at­tack from the Op­po­si­tion, es­pe­cially for­mer ally BJP, for al­leged cor­rup­tion and poor de­vel­op­ment of the state, even as his Biju Janata Dal (BJD) gears up for si­mul­ta­ne­ous gen­eral and assem­bly elec­tions in 2019, Pat­naik said his govern­ment be­lieved in per­for­mance and this re­flected in the as­pi­ra­tions of the state’s 45 mil­lion peo­ple. He said the cor­ner­stone of Odisha’s progress had been in­clu­sion and em­pow­er­ment, with a record eight mil­lion peo­ple be­ing pulled out of poverty and five mil­lion women be­ing em­pow­ered through the Mis­sion Shakti self-help group move­ment.

“We are the lead­ing state in pro­vid­ing land rights to our tribal pop­u­la­tion,” said Pat­naik, who has been in power for over 17 years. “Our growth rate is higher than the na­tional fig­ure. Our so­cial sec­tor in­ter­ven­tions are a model for the en­tire coun­try. We are one of the lead­ing states in at­tract­ing in­vest­ments.” He added that his govern­ment be­lieved in the “3 Ts”—tech­nol­ogy, trans­parency and team­work—to bring about trans­for­ma­tion.

The day-long con­clave, which had seven ses­sions with around 30 par­tic­i­pants, saw in­tense dis­cus­sions on Odisha’s growth in agri­cul­ture and in­dus­try; de­vel­op­ment of ed­u­ca­tion, arts and cul­ture; and pol­i­tics. The par­tic­i­pants in­cluded state agri­cul­ture min­is­ter Damodar Rout, leader of Op­po­si­tion Naras­ingha Mishra, min­is­ter for ST and SC de­vel­op­ment Ramesh Chan­dra Ma­jhi, BJD vice pres­i­dent Debi Prasad Mishra, state chief sec­re­tary Aditya Prasad Padhi, ad­di­tional chief sec­re­tary R. Balakr­ish­nan, and Na­tional Rain­fed Area Author­ity CEO Ashok Dal­wai.

De­liv­er­ing the in­au­gu­ral keynote ad­dress, state fi­nance and ex­cise min­is­ter Shashi Bhu­san Be­hera said Odisha

“Since half of our gram pan­chay­ats aren’t cov­ered by banks, the ru­ral pop­u­la­tion lost money dur­ing de­mon­eti­sa­tion” SHASHI BHU­SAN BE­HERA Min­is­ter for fi­nance, Odisha

had achieved phe­nom­e­nal de­vel­op­ment since the Pat­naik govern­ment came to power in 2000, with per capita in­come ris­ing from Rs 14,862 in 2000 to Rs 61,678 in 201617. He said the NDA govern­ment’s poli­cies on de­mon­eti­sa­tion and GST had hurt his state. “Since 50 per cent of the gram pan­chay­ats in Odisha are not cov­ered by banks, the ru­ral pop­u­la­tion lost money due to de­mon­eti­sa­tion,” he said. “The state has not ben­e­fited from GST since it was rolled out in haste and suf­fered from struc­tural de­fects. We need more changes in the GST struc­ture to make it suit­able for the dif­fer­ent stake­hold­ers in the state.”

San­tosh Panda, vice pres­i­dent, South Asian Univer­sity, New Delhi, pointed out that a 2013 re­port by a panel led by for­mer RBI gov­er­nor Raghu­ram Ra­jan that put Odisha at the bot­tom of all states con­sid­ered var­i­ous pa­ram­e­ters but not GDP growth or per capita in­come, both of which have surged since 2003. Crit­i­cis­ing the BJD govern­ment, Sri­jit Mishra, di­rec­tor of Nabakrushna Choud­hury Cen­tre of De­vel­op­ment Stud­ies, Bhubaneswar, said while agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion had gone up, so had the risk fac­tors, lead­ing to death of farm­ers. To re­duce the risks, he called for di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion into crops that re­quired less in­vest­ment but as­sured har­vest. As an ex­am­ple, Mishra cited the suc­cess in pro­mo­tion of mil­let in 30 blocks—ma­jor­ity of them rain-fed—and ar­gued for its ex­pan­sion to an­other 25 blocks. Dal­wai said there was a lot of scope for di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion in agri­cul­ture, in­clud­ing fish­ery and live­stock. “Odisha has the po­ten­tial to be the Pun­jab of the east,” he said.

Padhi said the chief min­is­ter had given free­dom to the bu­reau­crats to ef­fec­tively im­ple­ment the poli­cies of the govern­ment, but with free­dom came re­spon­si­bil­ity. “The con­sti­tu­tion is very clear on who runs the govern­ment. We im­ple­ment the poli­cies as de­sired by the po­lit­i­cal masters.

“In three years, we want cor­po­rate In­dia to make a bee­line for Odisha to hire and lock in our tal­ent” SUB­ROTO BAGCHI Chair­man, Odisha Skill De­vel­op­ment Author­ity

Bu­reau­crats are given the re­quired free­dom, but at the same time, if they com­mit mis­takes they also face ac­tion,” Padhi said dur­ing the dis­cus­sion ‘The Model of Good Gov­er­nance’.

In the ses­sion ‘How Ed­u­ca­tion Can Drive De­vel­op­ment’, Kalinga In­sti­tute of In­dus­trial Tech­nol­ogy founder Achyuta Sa­manta said their KISS (Kalinga In­sti­tute of So­cial Sci­ences) model for ed­u­ca­tion of tribal chil­dren had at­tracted na­tional at­ten­tion. He said Odisha has un­der­gone a sea change in ed­u­ca­tion with Bhubaneswar turn­ing into one of the hubs of higher ed­u­ca­tion in the coun­try. Jatin­dra Nayak, chair­man of Sik­shasand­han, and au­thor Goura­hari Das called for greater fo­cus on govern­ment schools and col­leges. Nayak said pri­vate play­ers can never match the govern­ment’s key role in ed­u­ca­tion. The ses­sion ‘Cul­tural Re­nais­sance’, mod­er­ated by dance his­to­rian Ashish Mo­han Khokar, had speak­ers lament­ing the govern­ment’s shrink­ing role in the re­vival of tra­di­tional art and cul­ture. Noted Odissi dancer Priyam­bada He­j­madi talked about how Odissi got classical sta­tus af­ter years of strug­gle. Art critic Kedar Mishra said the govern­ment had done lit­tle for dy­ing dance forms like Sam­balpuri Ch­hau.

The ses­sion ‘Across Party Lines: How to Build a Non­par­ti­san Agenda for Odisha’ raised po­lit­i­cal tem­per­a­tures. Leader of Op­po­si­tion Mishra, from the Congress, said even though he op­posed the “com­mu­nal­ism of the BJP”, there would be no pre-poll tie-up with the rul­ing BJD for 2019. “I rule out the pos­si­bil­ity of any such al­liance,” he said. BJD spokesper­son Sas­mit Pa­tra said the chief min­is­ter had made clear the BJD would re­main equidis­tant from the Congress and BJP. “The BJD is strong enough to win elec­tions on its own,” he said. BJP leader Prithvi­raj Harichan­dan said the very idea of such an al­liance “sig­nals the emerg­ing strength of the BJP in Odisha”.

In his keynote ad­dress ‘In­vest­ing in Hu­man Re­source is the Key to Growth’, Sub­roto Bagchi, chair­man of Odisha Skill De­vel­op­ment Author­ity, said Odisha needs to make 0.63 mil­lion youths skilled by 2018-19 so that they com­mand pre­mium wages. “Eighty per cent of those trained will go out­side the state. We have to shift the con­ver­sa­tion from ‘skill’ to ‘Skilled in Odisha’. In a three-year pe­riod, we want cor­po­rate In­dia to make a bee­line for Odisha not just to hire but to lock in our tal­ent,” Bagchi said. He said the 44 govern­ment-run In­dus­trial Train­ing In­sti­tutes in the state needed to be re­vamped to achieve the feat.

Pho­to­graphs by SUBIR HALDER

STARS OF THE EAST Odisha Chief Min­is­ter Naveen Pat­naik, In­dia To­day Ed­i­tor-in-Chief Aroon Purie (in front row) and In­dia To­day Group Ed­i­to­rial Di­rec­tor Raj Chen­gappa (be­hind the CM) with the award win­ners in Bhubaneswar

(Left to right) Kishor C. Sa­mal, Prakash Sarangi and Debi Prasad Mishra

(L-R) Ashish Khokar, Ga­jen­dra Panda, Ratikant Mo­ha­p­a­tra, Priyam­bada He­j­madi, Kedar Mishra

(L-R) Sri­jit Mishra, Ashok Dal­wai, Ajit Ku­mar Jha, Damodar Rout and

(L-R) Goura­hari Das, Ramesh Chan­dra Man­jhi, Man­ogya Loi­wal,

(L-R) San­jeev Cho­pra, Dr Pad­maja Mishra, Dr San­tosh Panda, Sub­has Pani and Dr Sud­hakar Pande

Achuyta Sa­manta, Jatin­dra Nayak and Bi­joy Ku­mar Sa­hoo

Dr Raj Kishore Panda

(L-R) Sas­mit Pa­tra, Naras­ingha Mishra and Prithvi­raj Harichan­dan

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