Long Term Plans for Agri­cul­ture NITI Aayog Ropes in States

Marathon meet­ing of Gov­ern­ing Coun­cil of NITI, in­clud­ing Chief Min­is­ters of the States was ‘con­struc­tive’ and a 15 to three-year ac­tion agenda fo­cused on agri­cul­ture.

Rural & Marketing - - POLICY - BK Jha Re­ports

Col­lab­o­ra­tion, Co­or­di­na­tion, Co­op­er­a­tive spirit, Col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity and Com­pet­i­tive fed­er­al­ism emerged as key fo­cal points dur­ing the third meet­ing of the Gov­ern­ing Coun­cil of NITI Aayog which was re­cently held in New Delhi un­der the Chair­man­ship of Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi. Chief Min­is­ters of the States, while high­light­ing achieve­ments of their re­spec­tive states, un­der­lined the pres­sure points where they need the Cen­tre’s sup­port. In turn, they were told to con­sider NITI as their out­post in Delhi. Re­ally, a de­par­ture from past prac­tices!

Agri­cul­ture is, of course, a pri­or­ity area for both the Cen­tre and the States. It is promis­ing to note that the pol­icy makers once again re­alised the need of a long term plan­ning for all sec­tors with ad­e­quate at­ten­tion on agri­cul­ture and in­stead of five years development plan, a 15 years vi­sion document was pre­pared. The document, com­prises of a seven-year Strat­egy document and a three-year Ac­tion plan. It pegs the In­dian econ­omy's growth from Rs 137 lakh crore in 2015-16 to Rs 469 lakh crore by 2031-32 at 2015-16 prices.

The pro­jec­tion is based on growth es­ti­mate of 8 per cent per an­num. The three-year agenda has been di­vided into seven parts, with each part hav­ing a num­ber of spe­cific ac­tion points which in­cludes rev­enue, ex­pen­di­ture, agri­cul­ture, in­dus­try, ser­vices, dig­i­tal con­nec­tiv­ity, pub­lic pri­vate part­ner­ship, energy, and sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy, in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship, gov­er­nance, tax pol­icy and ad­min­is­tra­tion, rule of law, and pro-com­pe­ti­tion poli­cies and reg­u­la­tions, en­vi­ron­ment, wa­ter resources, health, ed­u­ca­tion and build­ing an in­clu­sive so­ci­ety.

The PM’s Call

Pre­sid­ing over the meet­ing, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi called

upon State Gov­ern­ments to work with the Union Gov­ern­ment, as “Team In­dia,” to build the In­dia of the dreams of our free­dom fight­ers by 2022, the 75th an­niver­sary of in­de­pen­dence. He urged States, lo­cal Gov­ern­ments and all Gov­ern­ment and Non-Gov­ern­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions to de­cide goals for 2022 and work in mis­sion mode to­wards achiev­ing them.

De­scrib­ing the dis­cus­sions at meet­ing as con­struc­tive, Modi said, “The cir­cu­lated vi­sion document is a draft and all sug­ges­tions given by the Chief Min­is­ters will be taken into ac­count be­fore fi­nal­iz­ing it. It aims at good gov­er­nance which would lead to op­ti­mum util­i­sa­tion of resources, even when resources are less than de­sired.”

Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI, while out­lin­ing ini­tia­tives taken in ar­eas such as agri­cul­ture, poverty elim­i­na­tion, health, ed­u­ca­tion, dig­i­tal pay­ments said, “NITI will work with States to im­prove ba­sic ser­vices and in­fra­struc­ture, in dis­tricts and re­gions which re­quire spe­cific at­ten­tion. NITI would fa­cil­i­tate part­ner­ship with States for trans­form­ing In­dia un­der the frame­work of co­op­er­a­tive and com­pet­i­tive fed­er­al­ism.”

“There were over 300 spe­cific ac­tion points that had been iden­ti­fied, cov­er­ing the whole gamut of sec­tors. The pe­riod of the Ac­tion Agenda co­in­cided with the pe­riod of the 14th Fi­nance Com­mis­sion’s award. This gave sta­bil­ity to the fund­ing estimates of both Cen­tre and States. The in­puts and sup­port of the states in tak­ing the vi­sion for­ward are cru­cial com­po­nent of the whole plan,” said Arvind Pana­gariya, Vice Chair­man, NITI.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Chief

Naren­dra Modi Prime Min­is­ter The cir­cu­lated vi­sion document is a draft and all sug­ges­tions given by the Chief Min­is­ters will be taken into ac­count be­fore fi­nal­is­ing it. It aims at good gov­er­nance which would lead to op­ti­mum util­i­sa­tion of resources, even when resources are less than de­sired

Min­is­ter of Mad­hya Pradesh made a pre­sen­ta­tion on dou­bling of farm­ers’ in­come. He touched on ar­eas such as ir­ri­ga­tion, tech­nol­ogy gen­er­a­tion and dis­sem­i­na­tion, pol­icy and mar­ket re­forms, e-NAM, live­stock pro­duc­tiv­ity among oth­ers.

A Tale of two non-BJP ruled States

Two east­ern states- Odisha and Bi­har are re­ferred as back­ward states and presently ruled by two non BJP par­ties- Biju Janata Dal and RJD-JDU al­liance. Both states fre­quently de­mand spe­cial cat­e­gory sta­tus due to back­ward­ness on de­vel­op­men­tal pa­ram­e­ters. At NITI meet­ing, once again Chief Min­is­ters of the two states were very ag­gres­sive in log­i­cally putting for­ward their de­mand for greater fi­nan­cial sup­port. Both the states touched ‘ core of core’ is­sue- dou­bling farm­ers’ in­come. Tax trans­fer re­mained yet an­other crit­i­cal is­sue.

“Odisha has been pre­sent­ing a sep­a­rate Agri­cul­ture Bud­get since 2013-14 and the Agri­cul­ture Cab­i­net in the state looks into all crit­i­cal is­sues in­clud­ing self­suf­fi­ciency in food pro­duc­tion, em­ploy­ment gen­er­a­tion, in­fu­sion of tech­nol­ogy and rais­ing of in­comes. Pro­duc­tiv­ity gain achieved in agri­cul­ture has been recog­nised at the Na­tional level with con­fer­ment of Kr­ishi Kar­man Award to Odisha four times dur­ing last five years,” said Naveen Pat­naik, Odisha Chief Min­is­ter.

Re­fer­ring to the Punchhi Com­mis­sion rec­om­men­da­tions for higher Cen­tral trans­fers to back­ward States for im­prov­ing their phys­i­cal and so­cial in­fra­struc­ture, Pat­naik said Odisha has a high per­cent­age of pop­u­la­tion be­low poverty line and be­long­ing to ST and SC and de­serves the same shar­ing pat­tern at par with North East­ern and Hi­malayan States.

“The ben­e­fit of the ef­fect of in­creased de­vo­lu­tion of Cen­tral Taxes from 32 per cent to 42 per cent has been largely off­set by sev­eral pol­icy de­ci­sions of the Union Gov­ern­ment in­clud­ing delink­ing of eight Cen­trally Spon­sored Schemes from Cen­tral sup­port,” he added.

Bi­har’s Take

Echo­ing the sim­i­lar views, Bi­har Chief Min­is­ter Ni­tish Ku­mar said, “It is a matter of con­cern for a back­ward state like Bi­har that the al­lo­ca­tion of funds based on the for­mula of the 14th Fi­nance Com­mis­sion has re­sulted in the re­duc­tion of share of Bi­har from 10.9 per­cent to 9.665 per­cent. While de­sign­ing the for­mula, the Fi­nance Com­mis­sion has given

Arvind Pana­gariya Vi­cie Chair­man, NITI There were over 300 spe­cific ac­tion points that had been iden­ti­fied. The pe­riod of the Ac­tion Agenda co­in­cided with the pe­riod of the 14th Fi­nance Com­mis­sion’s award. This gave sta­bil­ity to the fund­ing estimates of both Cen­tre and States Naveen Pat­naik Odisha Chief Min­is­ter The ben­e­fit of the ef­fect of in­creased de­vo­lu­tion of Cen­tral Taxes from 32 per cent to 42 per cent has been largely off­set by sev­eral pol­icy de­ci­sions of the Union Gov­ern­ment in­clud­ing delink­ing of eight Cen­trally Spon­sored Schemes from Cen­tral sup­port

pref­er­ence to the to­tal area and ex­is­tence of nat­u­ral forests while ig­nor­ing the spe­cific prob­lems of States with high pop­u­la­tion den­sity and land­locked con­di­tions like Bi­har.”

“Bi­har is ex­tremely back­ward from the view point of phys­i­cal and so­cial in­fra­struc­ture and its per capita in­come is much less as com­pared to the na­tional av­er­age. It is es­sen­tial to take into con­sid­er­a­tion th­ese spe­cial needs of the State of Bi­har,” he added.

Dou­ble the In­come of Farm­ers

Bi­har has pre­pared a road map for agri­cul­ture. The use of qual­ity seeds, agri­cul­tural im­ple­ments, green ma­nure, vermi-com­post was pro­moted and pro­gres­sive tech­niques & prac­tices in in­creas­ing agri­cul­ture pro­duc­tiv­ity was given pub­lic­ity through the agri­cul­ture road map. There has been an un­prece­dented in­crease in the pro­duc­tiv­ity of paddy, wheat and maize due to the ef­forts of our hard­work­ing farm­ers.

“En­cour­aged by the suc­cess of the first agri­cul­ture road map, the sec­ond agri­cul­ture road map 2012-2017 has been pre­pared and im­ple­mented. A holis­tic development con­cept of agri­cul­ture has been con­ceived keep­ing the farm­ers in the cen­tre-stage in this agri­cul­ture road map.,” said Ku­mar.

“The tar­get of pro­duc­tion and pro­duc­tiv­ity has been qual­i­ta­tively in­creased. All the im­por­tant com­po­nents of agri­cul­ture have been in­cluded in this road map to usher in a Rain­bow Revo­lu­tion in the agri­cul­ture sec­tor of Bi­har hith­erto un­touched by the first Green Revo­lu­tion. We are uti­liz­ing

in­te­grated and sus­tain­able tech­nol­ogy man­age­ment prac­tices to de­velop grains, pulses, oilseeds, fruits, veg­eta­bles, su­gar­cane, jute, honey, mush­room, milk, meat, eggs and fish to bring about a rain­bow revo­lu­tion,” he added.

The schemes for in­creas­ing pro­duc­tion have been de­signed tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the spe­cial agro-cli­matic con­di­tions of Bi­har. The Road Map pro­vides for qual­i­ta­tive in­crease in agro pro­duc­tion, stor­age fa­cil­i­ties for pro­duce, value ad­di­tion, ar­range­ments for mar­ket­ing and pro­cess­ing, re-es­tab­lish­ment and ex­ten­sion of ir­ri­ga­tional fa­cil­i­ties, in­creas­ing the avail­abil­ity of elec­tric­ity through ded­i­cated feed­ers, all-weather road con­nec­tiv­ity to habi­ta­tions with a pop­u­la­tion up to 250, ar­range­ments for land sur­vey and con­sol­i­da­tion and plan­ta­tion of 24 crore trees in five year.

Tak­ing ad­van­tage of sev­eral schemes, Bi­har’s farm­ers have toiled hard to bring about an un­prece­dented in­crease in the pro­duc­tiv­ity of paddy, wheat and maize in Bi­har, thereby sur­pass­ing the na­tional av­er­age. In ad­di­tion to link­ing them with ben­e­fi­cial schemes, the farm­ers have been pro­vided ap­pro­pri­ate price for their pro­duce, which has led to an in­crease in their in­comes and improvement in their eco­nomic sta­tus.

“In view of the cur­rent agri­cul­ture road map com­ing to an end in 2017, the work for the prepa­ra­tion of a new agri­cul­ture road map for the next five years has been un­der­taken. Hence, it is re­quested that the Union Gov­ern­ment pro­vides ap­pro­pri­ate fi­nan­cial sup­port to the schemes re­lated to the agri­cul­tural road map of Bi­har,” the Chief Min­is­ter de­manded.

The Way For­ward

The Union Gov­ern­ment is im­ple­ment­ing a plethora of small schemes in the agri­cul­ture sec­tor and a num­ber of them are de­signed in a sim­i­lar fash­ion. As a re­sult, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of such schemes is ad­versely af­fected, the targeted farm­ers are un­able to re­ceive the ben­e­fits on time and the cov­er­age and ben­e­fits are lim­ited. The chief min­is­ters sug­gest that there is a need to re­duce the num­ber of on-go­ing agri­cul­ture schemes after ra­tio­nal­iza­tion by the Union Gov­ern­ment. In ad­di­tion to this, the East­ern States are be­ing con­sid­ered as the area for the Sec­ond Green Revo­lu­tion. The Na­tional Farmer Com­mis­sion has un­der­lined the im­por­tance of agri­cul­ture in the east­ern re­gion which has been ac­cepted by the NITI Aayog.

The Gov­ern­ment of In­dia is im­ple­ment­ing a scheme by the name of Bring­ing Green Revo­lu­tion in East­ern In­dia but the size of the scheme is very small and the com­po­nents in­cluded in the scheme are in­ad­e­quate.

The NITI needs to pre­pare a time bound pro­gramme to bridge the gap among the lag­gard states depend­ing on the gap ex­ist­ing between them with re­spect to the na­tional av­er­age of suit­able stan­dards. The ben­e­fit of development should em­power and strengthen all the sec­tions of so­ci­ety. Sim­i­larly, un­less all the states and re­gions are de­vel­oped in a bal­anced man­ner, the development of the en­tire na­tion shall re­main in­com­plete.

Ni­tish Ku­mar Chief Min­is­ter of Bi­har The cur­rent agri­cul­ture road map com­ing to an end in 2017, the work for prepa­ra­tion of a new road map for next five years has been un­der­taken. Hence, it is re­quested that the Cen­tre pro­vides ap­pro­pri­ate fi­nan­cial sup­port to the schemes of Bi­har

Meet­ing of the Gov­ern­ing Coun­cil of NITI Aayog in New Delhi be­ing chaired by Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi

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