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Farmers’ awareness campaign has only partial success: CAG

The farmers’ awareness campaign,Krishi Mahotsav,launched by Gujarat government has achieved only partial success,as the event touches only 35-45% farmers in the state,says the country’s topmost auditing body.

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published: April 4, 2013 5:24 am

The farmers’ awareness campaign,Krishi Mahotsav,launched by Gujarat government has achieved only partial success,as the event touches only 35-45% farmers in the state,says the country’s topmost auditing body.

“Audit scrutiny revealed that the aim of organising Krishi Mahotsav in all the 18,600 villages (covering 42.39 lakh farmers) during the last five years,has been achieved only partly,” states Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in its review on the state’s economic sector for the year that ended March 31,2012.

“Though about 96% of the villages were covered during these years,the percentage of farmers contacted to total farmers (in the state) ranged between 33 and 46,” CAG observed in the report that was tabled in the Gujarat Assembly on Tuesday.

While 19.6 lakh farmers were contacted through the event in 2007-08,the numbers fell to 13.98 lakh and 16.47 lakh during the years 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively.

“The government stated that the Mahotsav is a need-based programme and farmers attend it to acquire knowledge on farming problems and new technologies,” the report added. In the five years between 2007-12,over Rs 12 crore of Rs 82 crore of funds released for the Krishi Mahotsav also remained unspent.

The auditing agency also found Gujarat government not utilising the grant-in-aid of almost Rs 140 lakh released by the Centre for ST/SC farmers in the state.

Management of Soil Health Card intended to equip the farmers with the status of their soil for assessing the fertiliser requirement was also found to be “deficient”.

“All the 22 soil testing laboratories have an aggregate capacity to test 2.20 lakh samples per year. However,during 2010-11,as against testing 3.87 lakh samples targeted,6.61 lakh samples (171% against targets and 301% against installed capacity) were reported to have been tested. Therefore,testing of samples over three times of the capacity of soil testing laboratories is not free from doubt,” the report stated.

CAG also rejected state government’s argument saying that “only 200% achievement could be attained by running the laboratories in double shift,which the achievement reported was 301%”.

“Failure in strengthening the soil testing laboratories led to dependence on external agencies for collection of soil samples and testing. Target set for supply of quality seeds was not achieved,” CAG observed.

The audit scrutiny of a scheme of “distribution of free input kits to BPL farmers” revealed that though the kits costed Rs 1,000,the price of kits distributed during 2010-12 ranged between Rs 145 to Rs 2,082. “Thus Gujarat State Seed Corporation Ltd failed to ensure distribution of the kits of the value prescribed,” the report added.

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