Chandrababu Naidu Moots For ‘Krishi Cabinet’ To Achieve 18.2 Per Cent Growth
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is making an ambitious move to form a ‘Krishi Cabinet’, first of its kind in the country, to make agriculture remunerative, profitable and sustainable, targeting a growth rate of 18.2 per cent for the year 2015-16 with a GSDP contribution of Rs 1.69 lakh-crore.
He has put forward his dream proposals before his cabinet colleagues, district collectors and other senior officials of the state government at a conference on Primary Sector Mission, held at his newly set-up camp office in Vijayawada, during June-end. The Krishi Cabinet that will look into challenges of the Primary sector will meet every month to solve the problems of farmers in the state.
Given that Andhra Pradesh’s farmers are progressive and early adapters of new technologies, the Chief Minister laid emphasis on benchmarking the state to reach international standards. Farming should be a sunrise sector, he said, adding that in the last one year the government took up several flagship programmes such as Neeru-Chettu, Polam Pilustondi, soil health management, etc. “All these initiatives are receiving good response but we need to work harder to taking to the end-user in the chain,” he added.
The Chief Minister also elaborated that the state has appointed additional Joint Collector who will be made in-charge of the Primary Sector Mission at the district level. The support of ICRISAT and NABARD has proved beneficial, he said, adding that successful water management will yield better results.From processing facilities to supply-chain management, soil testing, micro-nutrient balance, farm mechanisation, increasing ayacut area, to value addition, everything should be streamlined. ‘Soil health management has helped our farmers reduce cost of cultivation by improving productivity.’
To revive agriculture, the Chief Minister said that, the state government has spent a lot of money to improve productivity and will gradually shift to chemical-free farming. All the growth engines identified under the Primary Sector Mission ‘agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry and livestock and fisheries ‘will generate huge revenues and have the potential to grow manifold.
The Government of India has lauded the Government of Andhra Pradesh for showing results by collecting 3.70 lakh samples for soil health management by using technology through geo-tagging. An integrated system of farming was also suggested with a certificate course on farming. That apart, the Chief Minister, highlighting the potential of aquaculture, asked officials to focus on Water University while the government is also planning to have working universities in agri-business. ‘The government is also working on capacity building of our human resources.’
Underlining the fact that Andhra Pradesh is facing a revenue deficit, the Chief Minister said the government is, therefore, experimenting with new models to generate revenue. For example: The state government is planning to give 5 lakh acres under micro-irrigation on annuity model.
‘If Banana cultivation is the strength of a region, we need to increase the area of cultivation by reducing the input costs. This way, we will not only focus on soil health, but also generate revenue through exports,’ the Chief Minister opined.
Further, the Chief Minister asked district collectors to prepare an action plan for all growth engines and execute it as planned within certain fixed time-frames. ‘Every programme should reach up to village-level. What we need is accountability and target setting from department to district-wise, mandal-wise, village-wise and farmers-wise,’ he added.
Six sub-committees to drive growth
In order to give a thrust to economic activity in Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister suggested forming six sub-committees for agriculture, horticulture, livestock, fisheries, MSME and affordable housing. These sub-committees will identify growth drivers in each sector and monitor how/why an entity (to which credit has been lent) is non-performing and give hand-holding until it begins performing to generate revenue.
The Chief Minister also launched the state credit plan for 2015-16 at the State Level Bankers’ Committee meeting. The proposed credit plan for 2015-16 is Rs.1,25,748 crore where agriculture has been given Rs.65,272 crore, MSMEs Rs.16,960 crore and other priority sectors at Rs14,688. The total credit for priority sector is Rs96,920 crore while non-priority sector is Rs.28,828 crore.
During the meeting, the Chief Minister directed all banks in the state to adapt inter-operability which allows business correspondents of one bank to offer payment services to other lenders for better efficiency and optimisation.’This can enable us to disburse pensions in an efficient way to people. Eventually, this will help us become a cashless economy by achieving our goal of financial inclusion,’ he added.
Stating that the government has successfully implemented two phases under the debt redemption scheme, the Chief Minister sought banks’ cooperation to ready themselves for the third phase of the roll-out. ‘We’ve linked most of bank accounts to Aadhar. This should be carried out immediately and efficiently. We have to relieve farmers from debt-burden and make farming profitable,’ he said.
The Chief Minister also said that failure in proper communication to farmers from banks has led to some confusion. ‘By now, all the loans should have been renewed. I want banks to work on solving this confusion,’ he added.’Identify growth-driving sectors based on the demand, and disburse credit based on that,’ the Chief Minister opined.
Suggesting banks to come up with innovative ways to generate revenue and boost economic activity among those groups they are lending to, the Chief Minister said that banks could form sub-committees at district-level/mandal-level and review how these groups are performing. ‘Monitor how these groups are generating economic activity and analyse the impact. Depending on the credit given to these assets/groups, we can monitor whether they are performing well or are likely defaulters,’ he added.
Naidu now mostly confine to AP
Chandrababu Naidu, who has been seen mostly functioning from Hyderabad since last 13 months, is seems to be in a changing mood and has decided to function mostly from his state of Andhra Pradesh. According to sources henceforth Naidu will meet all Central ministers who would be visiting the State at Visakhapatnam and will hold meeting with foreign investors either in Vijayawada or Visakhapatnam.
He has also reportedly asked all departments to work for at least three to four days a week from Andhra Pradesh. For the first time after assuming charge as Chief Minister, he spent four days continuously in Vijayawada during last week of June, 2015, 13 months after promising people he would function from Vijayawada three days in a week. During these four days he had a day-long meeting with party
MPs and MLAs. Party sources felt that the day-long interaction with party leaders during party state-level meeting helped to boost the morale of party leaders and cadre, whose morale had taken a hit following the cash-for-vote case. The TDP chief encouraged party leaders to air their views and asked them to concentrate on interacting with people to highlight the welfare programmes introduced by the TDP government.
The TDP leaders who are worried over the fate of their leader in the case, are now convinced that their leader is in a mood of counter attack going by the way he put forwarded his argument on right of AP government on joint capital as well as aggressive posture on phone tapping.
The Chief Minister sleeping in his special bus for two nights also won him the sympathy of people, especially party cadre, as he preferred the bus to any State guest houses or star hotels. However, the Chief Minister’s statement on staying in Hyderabad for 10 years also created apprehensions among some partymen that the decision may delay the development of capital region.
At the end of his tour, the Chief Minister tried to won the confidence of Muslims by announcing Ramzan Tofa under which the State government will distribute a pack containing sugar, vermillion (semya) and wheat to Muslims on the occasion of Ramzan festival.
By CH. Narendra from Hyderabad