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MoS for Agriculture hints at rethink on fund reduction to north-east states

Union Minister Banyal said New Delhi will give priority to transport facilities and food processing to boost agriculture in the North-Eastern states.

By: Express News Service | Aizawl | Published: August 17, 2015 8:51 pm
balyan-759 Union Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Kumar Balyan. (Source: PTI)

Hinting New Delhi might reconsider funding reductions to states after continued protests from Chief Ministers of the North-East states, a Union Minister on Monday said their requests are “under consideration” saying a rethink “will be good for the north-east”.

Speaking to reporters in Aizawl, Union Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Kumar Balyan said, “One thing this year funding pattern has been changed. The state governments requested, now RKVY and many other states the funding pattern has been changed to 50:50. Because of the 14th Finance Commission report, we have increased allocation to states from 32 to 42 percent.”

“But on demand of all the NE states, our PM assured that we will rethink on this funding patterns. I think it will be good for NE that we increase the allocation of every state in the country. And I think, I hope that PM will rethink on this funding pattern so NE states will benefit for both ways, in terms of funding patterns, in terms of 14th finance commission,” he said.

Pressed at what stage the “rethink” is currently, he said, “I cannot say the exact words, but it is under consideration. For agriculture specifically I will request to the PM that some more should be given to the North-Eastern states.”

Banyal said New Delhi will give priority to transport facilities and food processing to boost agriculture in the North-Eastern states where logistics is hampered by the terrain and there is little value addition to agricultural products.

Talking about the move to promote organic agriculture in the region, he added “this year there is a Rs 300 crores allocation for the organic farming scheme, and I think most of the money will go to the NE states. Second thing, government is thinking about marketing organic products. So that, on a large scale, we can establish farmer groups and we can give them certification and help in the marketing. You know in the big cities there is big scope for organic foods.”

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