The agri ministry is lethargic in spending its allocated budget!
It has spent only 28% of its budgetary estimates against a target of 33%
How many in the country, especially farmers know of the pathetic state of affairs in the key ministry that holds them to ransom with all its current miseries of suicides, debts and a series of problems.
Is there any lack of issues in the agri sector? Can anyone ask such a question? But it looks that under Mr.Narendra Modi when we are bombarded with words and phrases, in English and Hindi, we have no space or mind to go over these empty and wasteful energy, we have only to slow down ourselves with some deep concern and even cry for the hapless farmers of the country.
Who really care for the greatest sector that still continues to provide employment in the country? Namely, the agri sector. The rural sector. The most neglected sector at that.
If there is still endemic poverty, if there is social sector problems, like malnutrition, infant mortality, maternal mortality, health crisis it is in the rural and agri sector only. Now, as per the latest report that is available with us and it has also been reported in The Business Standard newspaper that Indian agriculture is growing at a pathetic, miserly 1.7 per cent annually.
This is the same rate for the last three financial years. So, it s not a surprise that the ministry is finding hard to step up its budget allocations for 2015-16.Till August 6, the ministry managed to spend only 28 per cent of its allocations ofRs.16, 646crores for this year, while it was mandatory to spend33 per cent of the total. Till the end July and42 per cent by end August. However, spending in the National Food Security Mission, a key segment is quite substantial, 50 per cent. This is Rs.1, 300 crores. While in the sector of Integrated Horticulture Development it is 33 per cent mark. Fine.
The finance ministry has targets for spending the allocations, so if the agri ministry doest push up spending the 42 per cent market there is a likelihood of the revised estimates to be reduced. Unspent allocations won’t be automatically carried forward to the next quarter. In agriculture, Centre’s major programmes like oilseeds, pulses, promotion of agriculture information services were way off the mark, the critical note explains.
And in agriculture, under the Modi dispensation, many of the new schemes carry Hindi names, so it is difficult to see how significant they are or how fanciful the schemes look like. Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, for instance, has an allocation of Rs.4, 500 cores and till August, the release isRs.732 cores only. This is just 16.28 per cent of the expenditure only.
Likewise are the other schemes too.
Some critics, whose credibility is high, in our opinion, say that some schemes like agriculture insurance schemes are terms as fraud!
Such harsh criticisms need to be taken in the right spirit and examined. Apart from other things, the public perception of the government functioning today seems to be less than positive.
The PM seems to be always in an election campaign mode.
This has to change to one of a person who sits in his office and clears files. This work culture must inform other ministries.
One such critical non-functioning ministry as of now seems to be the agriculture ministry.
Please change that perception.