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Odisha, India

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Avdisha, 8th Standard, Wisdom World School, Kurukshetra, Haryana, India - 136118

Area: 1,55,707 sq. km

Population: 4.2 crore (census 2011)

Capital: Bhubaneswar

Jurisdiction of High Court: Odisha

Principle language: Odia

State flower: Ashoka

State tree: Bodhi Tree

State animal: Sambar

State bird: Indian roller

Official website: http://www.odisha.gov.in

The history of Odisha dates back to antiquity, its most famous old names being Kalinga, Utkal and Odra. By the time of Mahavir and Buddha, the Kalinga Utkal region on the entire east coast of India acquired recognition and fame. Mauryan Emperor, Ashoka’s invasion of Kalinga was an epoch-making event of ancient times of far reaching consequences. Kalinga was conquered but the conquest changed the heart of the conqueror. The change in Ashoka changed the course of religion and cultural history not only of India but also of the whole of Asia. The next great era of Odisha’s history commenced during the reign of Mahameghavahana Kharavela who ruled in the 1st half of the second century B.C. During Kharavela’s reign the empire of Kalinga extended upto the river Ganga in the north and the river Godavari in the south. Subsequently the great dynasties such as the Shailodvabas, Bhoumakaras, Somavamsis, Gangas were not only great empire builders, but also promoters of art, literature and culture. The world famous Sun Temple at Konark was built in the thirteenth century by Narasimha Deva, the famous Jagannath temple at Puri in the twelfth century by Anangabhima Deva and the Lingaraj temple, Bhubaneshwar in the eleventh century by Jajati-II. From mid-16th century, Odisha was ruled successively by five Muslim kings till 1592, when Akbar annexed and included it into the Mughal empire. With the decline of the Mughal empire, Marathas occupied Odisha. They continued to hold it till the British took over in 1803.

Modern Odisha took birth in 1936. After Independence, princely states in and around Odisha surrendered their sovereignty to the Government of India. By the States’ Merger Order 1949 the rest of the princely states of Odisha were completely merged with the state of Odisha in January 1949.

Odisha situated on the shores of Bay of Bengal is surrounded by West Bengal on the north-east, Jharkhand on the north, Chhattisgarh and Telangana on the west and Andhra Pradesh on the south. Its diverse landscape comprises coastal plains, mountainous terrain, plateaus, verdant river valleys and slopes dotted with watersheds, springs, lakes and forest cover of varying density.

Change of Name

British Government occupied Odisha in the year 1803. British administrators felt difficulty in uttering the name of Odisha and its language Odia. So they changed the name as Orissa and its language as Oriya. However, the use of the name of Odisha deriving from “Odra” can be dated back to AD 1435. In independent India after 74 years, people of Orissa and the state government made endeavour to change the name from Orissa to Odisha and its language Oriya to Odia. After a long exercise and as a result of the legitimate demand of the people of Orissa and consistent efforts of the state government, the Bill relating to change of the name of the state from “Orissa” to “Odisha” and its language “Oriya” to “Odia” was passed in the Rajya Sabha in 2011.

Agriculture

Agriculture continues to be the backbone of the state’s economy. About 65 per cent of the population of the state is dependent on it. Government has been giving priority to the development of agriculture sector through a number of proactive measures. As seed is the most important input for boosting productivity of crops, effective steps are taken to increase seed replacement rate of various crops. Besides, six mobile soil testing laboratories have been engaged to expedite the soil analysis process in rural areas.

Irrigation and Power

Irrigation is the most important input for agriculture. Private Lift Irrigation Points under Jalanidhi scheme are being promoted by providing 50 per cent subsidy to farmers. Due emphasis has also been given on judicious utilization of water for crop production through promotion of micro irrigation system over 4,564 hectare under drip and sprinkler irrigation. The state has a cultivable land of 61.65 lakh hectare, out of which 49 per cent was provided irrigation facilities. For accelerated irrigation development, Government is implementing various farmer centric schemes such as Biju Krushak Vikash Yojana, Deep Bore Well Construction Programme, Megalift and Check Dam Construction. Construction activities of major and medium irrigation projects have been increased to complete the ongoing projects in the 12th Plan period.

Industry

On the strength of good governance and industry friendly atmosphere, Odisha is on its way to becoming the premier manufacturing hub for companies. This has enabled the state to sign MoU with 93 reputed investors across various sectors such as steel, aluminium, power, cement, auto component, oil refinery, titanium dioxide and four ancillary and downstream industries with an investment of 4,62,768.74 crore. Such industrialization is creating opportunities for broad-basing the growth of ancillary and downstream industries in the state.

Transport

Roads: Government made significant efforts for building roads and bridges with a view to strengthen road infrastructural facilities in the state with special focus on backward regions. Eight road projects out of nine have been completed under Economic Importance Scheme.

Railways: Odisha is well connected with the national rail network. It has rail lines of 2339 km including 91 km narrow gauge. The Odisha railway network is a part of the East Coast Railways, which is the largest carrier of commercial load in both freight as well as passenger traffic in the country.

Aviation: The expansion and modernization of Bhubaneswar airport is in progress. Direct link is available from Bhubaneswar to places like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. There are 13 airstrips and 16 helipads at different places in the state.

Ports: Government is taking steps to develop modern all weather deep sea ports at the potential port sites to give impetus to maritime trade and port based industries. Dhamra Port, which has been developed in PPP mode has started its commercial operation during this year.

Tourism

A new tourism policy is being formulated by the government aiming at strengthening the tourism prospects of Odisha, increasing private sector participation, augmenting tourism infrastructure and improving marketing and promotion of tourism. To further enhance the security of the tourists, government has created a separate wing called tourist police and deployed them at Sea Beach at Puri, Konark and Gopalpur. Tourist police cells have also been created in Golden Triangle and Diamond Triangle.

Considering the tourism potential of Odisha, Government has identified tourism as one of the focused areas of development. 320 places have so far been identified as tourist centres. Steps have been taken to make Odisha a most preferred tourist destination and placing it prominently on the national and international tourist map.

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