Noting that tax collection in the state dropped by over 11 per cent post demonetisation, Odisha government today announced plans to provide 11.46 lakh ‘Rupay Debit Cards’ to farmers by mid 2017 replacing Kisan Credit Cards. “In the aftermath of withdrawal of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denominations, economic activity has been interrupted in the segments which are cash intensive,” Governor S C Jamir said while addressing the state Assembly on the opening day of its budget session.
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“It has brought about a steep deceleration of state’s economy and public finances in the initial period. It is evidenced by a decline of over 11 per cent in the tax collection in December, 2016 over previous month,” he said.
Stressing that the state has achieved significant improvement in finance through various fiscal reforms, Jamir said the effort in achieving debt sustainability from a position of debt stress was significant. The Debt Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) ratio had been brought down to 15.7 per cent in 2015-16 from 50.7 per cent in 2002-03.
Stating that the state government has decided to provide crop loan to farmers at one per cent rate of interest, Jamir said crop insurance indemnity of the farmers was being directly credited to their accounts.
He said that replacement of Kisan Credit Cards by Rupay Debit Cards was under implementation and 11.46 lakh Rupay Cards would be provided to farmers by mid of 2017. Construction of 737 threshing floors had been completed thereby ensuring threshing facilities to farmers and reducing post harvest loss.
On agriculture, Jamir said “our foodgrain production touched an all time high of 118.24 lakh metric tons during 2014-15 registering 22.7 per cent growth over 96.36 lakh tonnes during 2013-14.”
Describing irrigation as a major area of focus, Jamir said the state had set a target of 10 lakh hectares of additional irrigation potential by 2019. It had been programmed to create additional irrigation potential of 2.954 lakh hectares during 2017-18.