Agriculture: Niti Aayog urges government to link financial grant to states’ agriculture reforms

NEW DELHI: Official think tank Niti Aayog has urged the government to link part of the financial grant given to states under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana to agriculture reforms implemented by the states, an official said.

Such a move will compel states to bring about significant changes in the agriculture marketing and other reforms pending in the sector, which are crucial for preventing spread of farmer unrest across the country as is happening in Madhya Pradesh currently, Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand said.

“If reforms do not happen in agriculture the problem will continue,” he told ET. “I have written to the agriculture ministry twice suggesting they use some part of RKVY (Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana) funds as monetary incentive to states to undertake agriculture reforms.”

According to Chand, while Niti Aayog has clearly outlined the roadmap for doubling farmers’ income by 2022, states are going extremely slow on reforms. As a result of this there is distress among farmers, he said.

In its report on doubling farmers’ income presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Niti Aayog has mooted reforms to address the politically sensitive issue of crop prices.

These include guaranteed prices for at least half the key crops, setting up of a unified national agriculture market, changing land lease laws, and creating a mechanism to facilitate easy exit for farmers who want to move out of agriculture.

In Madhya Pradesh, second straight year of a bumper onion crop with no buyers led to the recent farmers’ unrest in the state, following which the government decided to procure onions for Rs 8 per kilogram.

BJP-ruled states Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have announced a loan waiver for their farmers. Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has, however, said farmers in the state do not want loan waiver but fair prices for their crops.

The current allocation under RKVY for 2017-18 stands at over Rs 4,000 crore wherein the Centre and…

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