Agri package ploughs state-wise plan

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, Aug 16 | Updated: Aug 17 2007, 08:54am hrs
The agriculture ministry has geared up to implement the Rs 25,000-crore farm package, formally announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his Independence Day speech.

According to a senior official, the Rs 25,000-crore package will have state-specific plans for overall development of the farm sector, including crop cultivation, plantation, dairy and poultry, livestock management, fisheries and forestry. Each state will have to submit their proposals, keeping in view their competitiveness in each segment of the sector.

The proposals submitted by the states would be ultimately vetted by the Planning Commission, said the official.

States will also be asked to render matching funds to the Centres assistance for the programme.

The minister of panchayati raj institutions Mani Shankar Aiyer is, however, of the view that the state-specific road maps should be chalked out on the basis of plans formulated at district, block and panchayat levels.

On Thursday, agriculture secretary PK Mishra had a discussion with senior officials in the ministry on the implementation of Rs 25,000-crore special programme announced by the Prime Minister.

The government will rope in all the affiliated institutions of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for implementing the programme. The latest demonstrated technologies developed by ICAR institutes will be transferred to states.

Director of National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research (NCAP) PK Joshi said, This is a good approach for achieving inclusive growth in the rural sector and farm diversification. The state governments are in a better position to suggest their competitiveness in each segments of the farm economy.

Bharatiya Krishak Samaj leader Krishan Bir Chaudhary, however said, The Prime Minister had made no new deal for agriculture. Rs 25,000 crore package was earlier worked out by the Planning Commission and discussed at the National Development Council. Prime minister should make small farms more remunerative, instead of suggesting industrialisation as way to achieve economic growth.