States make out a case for key agricultural reforms

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Gangtok | January 18, 2016 11:51 PM

State governments today called for key reforms in the agriculture sector, including convergence of schemes and an enabling environment to boost private investment...

rime Minister Narendra Modi being welcomed by the Chief Minister of Sikkim Pawan Kumar Chamling on his arrival, in Gangtok on Monday. The Governor of Sikkim Shriniwas Dadasaheb Patil and the Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Radha Mohan Singh are also seen. PTI Prime Minister Narendra Modi being welcomed by the Chief Minister of Sikkim Pawan Kumar Chamling on his arrival, in Gangtok on Monday. PTI

State governments today called for key reforms in the agriculture sector, including convergence of schemes and an enabling environment to boost private investment, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi said could come up as new schemes.

The other proposals at the conference of agriculture ministers of states here included launch of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Dhan Yojana, interest subvention for long-term investment credit, raising share of agri priority sector lending to 18 per cent and a cut in urea subsidy to make more funds available for investment in agriculture, among others.

“For the first time, agriculture ministers and officials have sat together for two days and come out with suggestions to improve the farm sector. Some are short term and long term. Some are related to regulation and pooling financial resources. All suggestions may not apply to all states… But some thing, new scheme or yojana, should emerge from this,” Modi said at the valedictory session of the national conference here.

He also expressed confidence that these suggestions could find their way into the state and central agriculture development map. “This should also reflect in the state budget,” he added.

Outlining the challenges of the farm sector, the state governments — after deliberating on five key areas — made a presentation to the Prime Minister, suggesting reforms in land leasing, enhanced investment in climate resilient agriculture, skilling centres for training rural youth, convergence of MNREGA for creating 5 lakh farm ponds over next 3 years, and linking solar energy programmes for irrigation.

They also suggested raising of resources through tax-free bonds by incitations like NABARD to fund irrigation projects, policy thrust to cover 1 crore farmers for the next 3 years, credit thrust on central, eastern and north-eastern region and access of farm credit and insurance to sharecroppers, small and marginal farmers.

Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Sigh said, “The government firmly believes that farmers’ welfare would improve if there is increase in net income. The approach, therefore, is to reduce cost of cultivation, enable higher yield per unit and realise remunerative prices.”

Union Ministers Jitendra Singh, Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Mohan Bhai Kundariya were among others present at the event. Agriculture ministers and officials from over 26 states participated in the event.

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