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Capt seeks Centre to bear 90 % outlay on agri development programmes

Statesman News Service | Chandigarh |

Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Amarinder Singh has written to Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, requesting that the sharing pattern between Centre and States for various agriculture development programmes be reverted to 90:10 in order to avert the looming crisis in the farm sector.

Stressing the serious need to revert to the earlier sharing pattern to improve farm income, make agriculture more sustainable and promote crop diversification, Amarinder has said “the target of doubling farmers income in five years appears almost unachievable unless urgent steps are taken to re-direct the focus and provide the essential institutional support.”

Underlining Punjab’s role as the epicenter of the Green Revolution in the country, the Cm said that while there had earlier been huge increase in productivity of food grains and in arable area under wheat and paddy, the production potential of these crops with the currently available technology had been fully exploited.

On the one hand, growth in productivity and real farm incomes had materially slowed down; on the other, the very sustainability of the rice-wheat cropping system is under threat due to over-exploitation of natural resources, i.e. soil and water, he further wrote.

In the circumstances, said Amarinder, there was urgent need for diversification. However, he pointed out, that the sharing pattern of the major agricultural development programmes had been regularly and repeatedly amended. States have now been asked to contribute 40 per cent of the outlay as State share, even though they lack financial resources and capacity to alleviate farmers’ distress on their own, with Punjab being no exception, he observed.

With farmer distress across India continuously increasing due to various factors, including weather aberrations and fall in commodity prices internationally, Punjab had been requesting that the sharing pattern between Centre and States should be reverted to 90:10, as that would facilitate their efficient implementation and encourage investments in agriculture, said the CM.

Further, instead of providing tightly compartmentalised interventions under various programmes, more flexibility should be provided to the States in designing interventions keeping in view their area-specific requirements, Amarinder said.

These measures, it was felt, would contribute in improving the economic viability and ecological sustainability of farming and thereby, help in checking the prevailing distress in the farm sector, the Chief Minister submitted in his letter to the PM.