The Odisha Government may not participate in the two-day meeting of collectors of backward districts convened by NITI Aayog in New Delhi from January 4 to register its unhappiness with the appointment of senior Central officers by NITI Aayog as in-charge of backward districts.
Sources said the State Government is not happy with the manner in which the Aayog is meddling in Odisha affairs.The stated Government has taken exception to the fact that though it has been demanding more Central assistance for schemes in backward districts, the center has stopped funding for programs like special plan for KBK districts, Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF), Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for Left Wing Extremists (LWE) Affected districts.
The State Government has, however, assigned Secretary level officers to each district including the eight districts identified by the Centre for extensive field visits during the first week of every month to oversee implementation of development programs. Besides, Additional Chief Secretary level officers have also been appointed by the Government for some of the districts to ensure effective coordination among different departments and suggest various location-specific initiatives for overall development. Sources in the Government maintain that appointment of district in-charges by NITI Aayog backward districts is likely to create confusion and may turn out to be counterproductive.
A total of 115 districts were earlier identified for accelerated development drive in the field of education, health, nutrition, basic infrastructure like rural road connectivity, rural household electrification, access to potable water and individual toilets. These districts include 35 districts which are affected by violence by Left Wing Extremists.