New Delhi, June 15 : Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday demanded that natural calamities should be included as a criteria for according Special Category Status to states.

"As an interim measure, states hit by major natural calamities may be declared as 'Special Focus States' and granted benefits of Special Category Status for a specific period," he said at the fifth meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here.

Patnaik also appraised the Centre about the large-scale devastation and massive losses in the state caused by Cyclone Fani.

In his remarks, he also stressed that the "primary sector especially agriculture has to be always taken care of". "Judicious utilisation of water resources holds the key and Second Green Revolution should happen in our dryland areas," he added.

He said PM-KISAN should include landless agriculture households and sharecroppers while all irrigation projects which are lying incomplete as on April 1, 2019 should be included under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY).

The Union Government should allocate a much higher quantum of resources for watershed, command area development and drinking water, he added.

There should be a priority component under the rural roads programme to connect habitations with a population of 100 and below.

He also demanded that royalty on coal should be revised from 14 per cent to 20 per cent of sale value.

Patnaik also maintained that as frequent elections affect the development climate, it is better to have simultaneous elections in the country.

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