BJP, BJD lock horns over Sustainable Development Goals India index report

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Bhubaneswar, Jun 5 (PTI) The ruling BJD and opposition BJP in Odisha on Saturday entered into a blame game over the recently released report on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index of Niti Aayog for 2020-21.

The Index for SDG evaluates progress of states and union territories on social, economic and environmental parameters.

BJP MP Aparajita Sarangi alleged that the BJD, which is ruling the state for over two decades, has been misleading the people of Odisha in the name of world class projects as it is among the bottom five states in the list of SDG report, prepared in collaboration with the United Nations.

'After 21 years of the BJD government, why are 33 per cent of people of Odisha below poverty line while in Andhra Pradesh, BPL is only 9.2 per cent?' she asked.

This apart, 14.2 per cent of 1 crore families in Odisha live in kutcha houses as compared to 3.2 per cent in Andhra Pradesh and 6 per cent in West Bengal, Sarangi said quoting the SDG report.

BJD Rajya Sabha member Amar Patnaik, on the other hand, claimed that the BJP is trying to divert peoples attention from the major issue of COVID vaccination, saying that the SDG report has awarded more points to Centrally- sponsored welfare schemes while ignoring state-sponsored programmes.

Odisha has improved its position from 22nd to 19th rank in the SDG index in last two years, he said.

While mobile and internet services are yet to reach remote areas of Odisha, the SDG index in 2019-20 had awarded 123 points to the state for net connectivity but surprisingly it was slashed to 44 this time, he said.

The BJP MP of Bhubaneswar sought to know the reason of Odisha being in the rank of Nagaland and Chhattishgarh despite getting all support from the Centre.

'Odisha occupy the bottom five places. Isn't it shameful? We are called a very poor state. Isnt it an affront to the dignity of Odias?' Sarangi asked adding that only some parts of the state are being beautified.

Raising question on safety of women in the state, she said that according to the National Crime Record Bureau, 103.5 women per one lakh population in Odisha are victims of violence, while the conviction rate is just 8.3 per cent 'Around 29 per cent of our children under five years are stunted or underweight. What has been the state government doing for so many years to improve the status of children and ensure dignity of women?' she asked.

The BJP leader also targeted the BJD government's publicity drive on the Ease of Doing Business, saying that the state scored zero on that account.

'In Innovation Ranking, Odisha has gone down from 12th to 14th rank. Where does the youth of Odisha go? Why so much migration came to the fore during COVID times? Has the state government failed the youth and business community of our state?' she asked.

The BJD leader alleged that when foreign countries are not allowing Indian students although they are administered with Covaxin vaccine, the BJP is indulging in politics over SDG report.

Patnaik also raised question as to how Odisha, which was India's leading state in terms of industrial investment in 2019 and got 92 points, has been awarded zero in Ease of Doing Business.

'On the contrary, SDG index has awarded 99 points to Odisha in the banking sector although the services are yet to reach rural pockets in the state,' he said.

The BJD leader said that the railway service is yet to reach six districts of Odisha till date. PTI AAM NN NN

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