Bhubaneswar: Odisha finance minister Niranjan Pujhari has snubbed the opposition while replying to the budget discussion in the Odisha Assembly on Monday.

The minister has deflected all the attacks of the opposition stating that the State’s resource position is comfortable and there is no need to be worried. Allaying fear of the opposition members, he asserted that the State’s debt position is well within sustainabable level.

Replying to a query by the leader of the opposition (LoP) Pradipta Nayak, the minister has said that the State government has come out with a recruitment policy in 2013. While posts in Group A and B will be filled up through Odisha Public Service Commission, the recruitment to other Groups will be held on 6 years contractual basis. During this period, salary would be increased by 10% every year. Their services would be regularised after six years. The outsourcing employees would be covered under EPF and ESI . Payments to the service provider would be stopped if found defaulting in paying the EPF and ESI dues of the employees.

Referring to LoP’s objection to the naming of some of the Centrally Sponsored Schemes(CSS), Pujhari said that most the CSS fund is shared by Centre and State at 60:40 ratio. He said, the Centre has introduced Prime Minister Matruvandana Youjana taking a cue from Odisha government’s successful maternity welfare scheme Mamata. He said the State government is not giving a thought whether to introduce PM Matruvandana Yojana shelving its own popular Mamata Yojana.

Regarding miner minerals, the minister said that the State government is streamlining the miner minerals exploitation with a view to augment royalty collections. He said State government has established a separate directorate for miner minerals and identified 144 tehsils to open miner mineral cells.

He said that in the last five years 70,000 posts in the government have been filled up taking the total number of government employees to 4.52 lakh.

Stating that the members need not be worried about resources mobilisatioin, Pujhari said that the State would get Rs 1000 crore more in comparison to the estimation of own resources in the original budget. The own tax has grew by 8.5% during the first six months ending September 30,2019 as compared to the same period previous fiscal. Royalty from mines, excise duties contributed to the growth of own tax collections, he added.

He urged the members not to be worried about the State’s debut position. The State’s debt position is at the sustainable level, he assured and added, the Debt to GSDP ratio was 16.8% and the Interest Payment to Revenue Receipt Ratio was 5.8% during 2018-19 which were well within the Odisha Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act 2005 provision of 25% and 15% respectively.

The minister said the State went for open market borrowing in 2014-15 after 9 years gap. He said open market borrowing has been accessed in 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18. This year too the state is going for open market borrowing, he added. Asserting that the open market borrowing was as per the provisions of FRBM Act, he assured that the money borrowed is used in capital expenditure only.