Recipe for sustainable development in Odisha

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“Social exclusion, malnutrition and degradation in quality education are the major challenges and break the speed of development process. Grassroots level development needs inclusion of all the stakeholders like civil society organizations, policy makers, government officials, academia and community based organizations, said Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, Government of India during the OdishaVikash Conclave 2018 held in Bhubaneswar in August 27 – 29. The conclave discussed several issues relating to sustainable development agenda of the state.

Participating in the conclave Odishavikash conclave Union Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development Minister Dharamendra Pradhan said that the conclave is a unique opportunity for all the stakeholders like academia, policy maker, civil society organizations and community based organisations to build up inclusive development for the state.

Working and making partnership among government and nongovernment actors holds good taste in sustainable development agenda. Social organization has a vital role in achieving Sustainable Development Goals and it can be possible only through synergy building and joint collaboration among all the development actors, opined some participants.

Four out of 10 children in the state are under nourished. The major cause of this situation is lack of adequate nutrition and balanced diet, unhealthy environment and unhygienic practices. This creates an alarming situation for the state and need to be addressed immediately.  Now the central government is focusing on education to all and quality learning process. The center is planning to come out with output-based accountability in basic education to ensure the quality learning.

The conclave came up with suggestions for development of the state. Some of them are discussed here.

Kalahandi, Kandhamaal, Sundargarh, Koraput, Malkangir, and many other tribal districts in the state are suffering from unpredictable condition in human life style. Development agenda can be accelerated in these unreachable pockets through sensitizing people and ensuring participation in grassroot planning process.

It is necessary to enhance transparency and accountability in the local self-governance system through proper bottoms-up participatory planning, monitoring and implementation of welfare schemes and programs.

It is recommended to double the budget of MGNREGA and reach out at least 50% job card holders and ensure 100 days employment to 25% job card holders. Increase public spending on health to 2% of GSDP by next 3 years and regulate price, quality and access to health care in private sector; closely monitor the implementation of health insurance schemes. Invest on building human capital, through higher levels of resource commitment for social sectors, especially education. Promote rain-fed farming systems including livestock and fishery in aspirational districts and develop Farmers Resource Centres that can act as convergence points for rain-fed areas in all the districts.

Formulate Odisha Migrant Workers Welfare board (OMWWB) and corpus fund for the welfare of vulnerable migrant workers in the state; strengthen interstate coordination and facilitation centres at both source and destination locations. While dealing with nutrition, follow a life cycle approach with a focus on first 1000 days, promote lactational management units, crèche services for pre-school children and home visits at critical life stages. Activate Area Sabhas and Slum Improvement/Welfare Boards in urban areas.

State ought to ensure 100% RTE compliance in schools by next Academic Year. Ask for adequate budgetary allocations for proper curricular and co-curricular activities through well-defined School Development Plans (SDPs).

It is urged to re-activate the regional imbalance commission to address inequality; take block as the lowest possible unit; bring the State Finance Commission around to prioritising the backward rural and urban local bodies that are plagued with gross inequality.

Universalize social security pension and fix it at a minimum of the half of minimum wages per month; go for 5% reservation of PwDs in the local self-governance system.

Include the third gender in all facilities, rights and entitlements. Prepare and empower communities to undertake local Hazard-Risk-Vulnerability (HRV) analysis; factor the risks and remedial measures in GP plans and allocate resources accordingly. Restrict the transfer of patta land of tribals to non-tribals.

Enforce regulation on conservation of water and promote decentralized water supply systems rather than mega piped water supply systems. . Formulate and implement an Inclusive River Policy and set-up a River Science Institute to promote research, advocacy and model for effective management of river basins.

Pradeep Baisakh is a blogger


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