New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday said his state deserves the same sharing pattern as northeastern and Himalayan states. Also Read - Swanky Makeover: Railway Ministry Shares Glimpses of Futuristic New Delhi Railway Station | See Photos

Attending the third meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here, Patnaik said Odisha has a high percentage of population below poverty line and it deserves the same sharing pattern at par with the two categories. Also Read - Delhi Airport's Terminal 3 Introduces New Passenger Tracking System

This demand, he added, is in line with the Punchhi Commission recommendations for higher Central transfers to backward states for improving their physical and social infrastructure. Also Read - Why Kejriwal's Plan to Allow Hi-tech Industry is Good for Delhi

Patnaik also said that the benefit of the effect of increased devolution of central taxes from 32 per cent to 42 per cent has been largely offset by several policy decisions of the Union Government including delinking of eight centrally sponsored schemes.

He also noted that Odisha faces natural disasters every alternate year causing huge damage to the state’s resources, and the state’s geographical vulnerability should be considered in the process of allocation of resources to it so that disaster mitigation is adequately addressed.

The Chief Minister said that the decision of the GST Council to use the proceeds of Clean Environment Cess for GST Compensation Fund, meant for all states, is disadvantageous to coal bearing states like his which have to bear the burden of environmental degradation and the cost of rehabilitation.

He urged upon the Governing Council to earmark 60 per cent of the cess for coal-bearing states.

Patnaik also highlighted the low telecom connectivity including lower bandwidth, low financial inclusion and a lower bank credit in the state.

Highlighting the slow pace of implementation of BharatNet project, he impressed upon the need to expedite its implementation in all gram panchayats as it is necessary for effective roll out of various initiatives under Digital India programme.

In addition, there is a need to set up a National Task Force to ensure mobile and broadband connectivity to deficit areas in Odisha and similarly placed states, he added.

He said Odisha government has submitted a proposal to increase the minimum support price for paddy for the benefit of farmers in the state and urged the Union government to consider and approve the proposal at the earliest.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.