Centre, states need to work in tandem for better results: FM

New Delhi, May 29 | Updated: May 30 2007, 05:30am hrs
Attributing the high inflation to spurt in prices of primary articles including food items, the government on Tuesday said there was consensus between Centre and the states on launching a mission to increase the production of wheat, rice and pulses. It is in our common interest that we agree on a plan of action for central and state governments (for the proposed mission) and implement it without hindrance, finance minister P Chidambaram said addressing a meeting of the 53rd National Development Council (NDC). Chidambaram also said, I realise that when we launch the mission, there will be demand for more funds.... hence, I would support the proposal to provide additional resources and transfer the same through the method of additional central assistance.

The success of the proposed mission would depend on the willing participation of states to the actions that fall within their areas of responsibility, he said. Recognising the different requirements of states, the finance minister supported the view that state-specific plans for agriculture should be developed.

Even a state-specific plan should be an aggregate of district specific plans, formulated for the districts in that state, Chidambaram said. Each state should also ensure that its current level of expenditure on agriculture as a proportion of total state plan expenditure is maintained and additional resources are found by them from their own resources. The minister said the additional resources of the Central and state governments should be spent without wastage and corruption on irrigation, seeds, soil testing, better delivery of fertiliser subsidy, modern markets and agricultural research and extension.