New Delhi: The Odisha chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, virtually launched his political campaign as he addressed the Fifth Niti Aayog meeting held under the chairmanship of prime minister Narendra Modi, here on Saturday.

Patnaik pitched for demands which would be difficult for the Modi government to fulfill in next five years. And, where the Central government will fulfill the demands the credit will go to Naveen more than Modi.

As expected Patnaik reiterated his demand for Special Category State (SCS) status for Odisha. This would ensure the Centre to provide funds to the state at 90:10 ratio. The chief minister has suggested that the Centre should include natural calamity as a criteria for according SCS tag to a state like Odisha.

Pending declaration of SCS status to the state, he proposed, “As an interim measure, states hit by major natural calamities may be declared as Special Focus States and granted benefits of special category status for a specific period.”

Appraising the meeting about the large scale devastation suffered by the state due to the cyclone Fani, Patnaik demanded more funds from the Centre to carry out rehabilitation and reconstruction works in the Fani affected areas of the state.

Patnaik demanded that the PM-KISSAN scheme should match the state government’s most popular KALIA scheme and urged the Centre to include the share croppers and landless agriculture households for the cash transfer benefits. He also told the meeting that all the irrigation projects which are lying incomplete as on April 1, 2019 be included under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana(PMKSY)

The other demands which the chief minister raised in the meeting are:

The Union Government should allocate a much higher quantum of resources for watershed , command area development and drinking water.

There should be a priority component under PMGSY-III to connect habitations with a population of 100 and below.

The projects need to expedited to extend rail connectivity to Kandhamal, Nabarangpur and Malkangiri districts.

Bank facilities should be extended to unbanked Gram Panchayats.

Bharatnet project should also be implemented at a faster pace.

Royalty on coal should be revised from 14 per cent to 20 per cent of sale value.

The regional satrap BJD which survives on the issue of Centre’s neglect to the state, would certainly find several issues through out this five year term of the Modi government for Centre- whipping.

While lining up issues having political connotations, Patnaik also used the platform to point out some of the great achievements of his government.

The chief minister said the poverty-stricken state has witnessed the highest reduction of poverty among major states in a decade. It become a rice surplus state from a food deficient state and now is one of the largest contributors to the Central pool. And, he added, from a helpless state at the time of disasters to a state which has set global standards in disaster management.