November 25, 2009 12:00:02 am
Despite the UPA-IIs pronounced thrust on agriculture,the sector seems to be suffering from a paucity of funds. So much so that the agriculture ministry has reminded the Planning Commission that the first three years of the Plan have failed to give the agreed importance to the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) with an allocation of less than 33 per cent of the total funds earmarked for the 11th Plan period.
The ministry is understood to have intensified its pitch for seeking the funds after reports suggested that the Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) for the next Budget would be marginally higher. In a recent letter to the ministries,the plan panel pointed out that there was an express need to utilise resources in the most judicious and efficient manner by prioritising Plan schemes in the next Budget. The panel also asked the ministries to ensure well-defined quarterly measurable and monitorable targets for improving the efficiency of budgetary allocations.
Making out a case for paying more attention to the RKVY,the ministry has argued that in the remaining two years the government should increase allocation to the scheme by at least 100 per cent if the scheme is to deliver its intended objective. Accordingly,the allocation in the next fiscal has to be at least Rs 8,000 crore against an expected expenditure of Rs 4,000 crore this year,the ministry headed by Sharad Pawar pointed out. The total outlay for the programme was Rs 25,000 crore for the entire Plan period,of which Rs 8,136.60 crore has been allotted so far with an objective to make the remaining money available in the rest of the Plan period. So if Rs 8,000 crore is made available for the next fiscal the remaining money will have to be made available in 2011-12.
Interestingly,despite seeking more funds,the ministry says the data from 2007-08 onwards on agriculture and allied GDP is not available for all the states. In such a scenario it is impossible to make an assessment of the contribution of the scheme in overall agricultural growth. Only 11 states have so far formulated State Agriculture Plans (SAPs). Of the total 628 districts,the district-level plan is available only for 520 districts.
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However,the ministry says the state governments are investing heavily in modern agricultural techniques. The states have enhanced allocations to agriculture and allied sectors in order to reverse the declining trend. The ministry says that as compared to Rs 5,147 crore in 2003-04,the cumulative allocation was around Rs 17,825 crore in the last fiscal.
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