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.
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.
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