GUWAHATI, June 18 - The Centre has asked the State Government to prepare an action plan for the development of agriculture and well being of the farmers of the State.
.Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Radha Mohan Singh today reviewed different schemes and programmes of the Agriculture and allied departments in the presence of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister for Agriculture Atul Bora and Minister for Fisheries Parimal Suklabaidya and senior officials of the Government of India and the Government of Assam.
The Union Minister urged the officials to put in more efforts for the welfare of farmers and to work with a mission mode to step up agriculture produce with a view to doubling the income of the farmers. �The agriculture scenario is going through difficult times and to overcome it more efforts have to be put in by the officials so that the benefits of the different schemes percolate to the agriculture fields,� he added.
Exhorting upon the officials to prepare an annual action plan, Singh said, �The agriculture officials have to go to the districts to prepare the action plans. If we can come all the way from Delhi to Guwahati, then the officials in Dispur have to go to the districts to assess the ground reality and to prepare the annual action plan by meeting the requirements.�
The minister pointed out that there could be no excuses for officials for delay in getting funds from the ministry as �per the direction of our Prime Minister, funds go straight to the coffers of the State exchequer after vote on account within 24 hours.�
Singh urged the officials to adopt latest technologies vis-a-vis mobile app, smart phones and video conferencing instead of doing work manually to update data from the fields on a regular basis. He called for application of biometrics to induce proper �work culture� to �bring in desired changes in our work approach�.
The Union Agriculture Minister asked the officials not to �sit tight� by just sending a proposal or utilisation certificate to the ministry but to �take things to the logical end by taking up follow up action�. �Just sending proposals or UCs won�t do. You have to pursue matters in right earnest and get things done. You have to think of the farmers as members of your family. With that positive mindset you can bring about transformation in their lives and bolster the economy of the country as a whole,� he added.
Singh also urged the officials to make utilisation of the unspent funds earmarked under different schemes as �non-utilisation of funds before a financial year comes to an end has a cascading effect as the State has to suffer on account of less funding the next year�. Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal urged the officials to work with dedication, devotion and determination to fulfil the high hopes and expectations of the people. �The people of Assam have high hopes and expectations on the new government and have blessed us profusely. We have got the golden opportunity to serve the people in the days ahead,� he said.
Sonowal said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set the agenda for development of Assam and the Northeast by focusing it as an organic hub of Asia. �Assam is a land of potentialities and possibilities in agriculture and allied sectors. We have to go in for developing the State without affecting our ecology and to conserve our biodiversity,� he said.
Emphasising on development of agriculture and allied sectors, the Chief Minister said, �Agriculture, the backbone of our economy, is the only way to augment our economy and to generate employment opportunities in a big way.�
Expressing his gratitude to the Union Agriculture Minister for visiting the State with senior officials to take stock of the agriculture scenario in the State, Sonowal said, �After Modiji took over as Prime Minister, he has given clear cut directions to his ministers and officials to visit the Northeastern states once every fortnight to assess the situation on different fronts,� he said, adding, �during the previous regime, ministers and officials from the State have had to wait for days together to get an appointment.�
Urging upon the officials to work with a sense of purpose and urgency, Sonowal said, �We have many miles to go... many commitments to fulfil. There are 25 lakh educated unemployed youth in our State. We have to create avenues for employment for our youth and create opportunities for our young entrepreneurs. And to accelerate our growth, the State and Central governments have to work in tandem to live up to the high expectations of the people.�
Minister for Agriculture Atul Bora said he had a series of meetings with his officials to chart out a roadmap and to find out the areas in which the agriculture sector is lagging behind.