Agri-rural issues top agenda for NITI Governing Council meeting

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Published: June 14, 2019 12:31:34 AM

The meeting, to be held at Rashtrapati Bhavan, would also be attended by lieutenant governors of Union territories, several Union ministers and senior government officials. This will be the first governing council meeting under the new Modi government.

The meeting, which is to be held on June 15, would deliberate on measures to address pressing issues such as drought situation, rain-water harvesting and structural reforms in agricultureThe meeting, which is to be held on June 15, would deliberate on measures to address pressing issues such as drought situation, rain-water harvesting and structural reforms in agriculture

The Governing Council of the Niti Aayog will meet on Saturday to deliberate on measures to address pressing issues such as drought situation, rain-water harvesting and structure reforms in agriculture.

The Governing Council, which will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with all chief ministers as members, would also discuss development of backward districts and security related issues with specific focus on left-wing extremist districts.

The meeting, to be held at Rashtrapati Bhavan, would also be attended by lieutenant governors of Union territories, several Union ministers and senior government officials. This will be the first governing council meeting under the new Modi government.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, however, has refused to attend the meeting, saying it is “fruitless” as Niti Aayog has no financial powers to support state plans.

Rain-water harvesting is high on the agenda of the fifth governing council meeting. The Centre might suggest a new scheme to encourage rain water harvesting to fight drought and lack of drinking water in many parts of the country. Similarly, the Council might discuss some drought-proofing measures in perennially parched areas such as Marathwada and Vidarbha in Maharashtra, Rayalaseema in Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand.

With the government’s focus on the agriculture sector to double farmer’s income by 2022, the Centre might persuade states to enact a model Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act drafted by it. The objective of the model Act is to keep fruits and vegetables out of purview of the mandis, abolition of Aarthia commission and permission for hassle free inter-state trade.

Also, the government might have to take a policy decision whether to abolish the Essential Commodities Act (ECA), a tool used to prevent hoarding and price rise. The ambiguity and open-ended policy to invoke it anytime on any commodity, dissuades traders from buying agricultural commodities beyond a point which depresses the mandi prices and is one of the factors of farm distress.

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