SHRI K.P. SINGH DEO (DHENKANAL): I have been giving the notice for the last five days. I did not give notice today but yesterday I had given it.
Sir, for the last 35 years, about three-and-a-half crore of Indian people who live in Orissa and Srikakulam, a part of your State, as well as Midnapore district have been subjected to various weather related natural calamities like flood. As Shri Basu Deb Acharia has mentioned, 15 districts of West Bengal have been flooded from 1965 onwards. These districts have been subjected to drought, famine, starvation, floods and cyclone. Therefore, I demand that the House should use their combined wisdom because the Government of India, the Planning Commission and the Finance Commissions have failed to arrest the downward slides of States like Orissa and portions of the agency area of Andhra Pradesh as well as some portions of West Bengal from coming up to the all India national level. The gap filling methods which have been pursued by either the Planning Commission or the Finance Commissions or the modified formulae or the Five Year Plans have not been able to stop the downward trend. There is regional disparity. I am not saying this has happened because of the super cyclone. But that was the culminating point of 35 years of devastation or destruction which has eroded the capacity of the States to mobilize resources.
Particularly in Orissa, 58 per cent of the people are below the poverty line -- 22 per cent of them are tribals and 19 per cent of them are Scheduled Castes. This time, after the super-cyclone, God alone knows how many people are below the poverty line! Therefore, the status of a special category State must be given to these areas, particularly Orissa, because it is not in the Constitution and we do not belong to the States under the Seventh Schedule. It is not also in the Himalayan hill region.
Therefore, some special consideration must be given in this matter. I appeal to Parliament to use their combined wisdom because the Planning Commission, the Government of India and the Finance Commissions have failed in this respect.