Par panel faults govt over ‘meager’ funds to agriculture

Par panel faults govt over 'meagre' funds to agricultureNEW DELHI: A Parliamentary committee has pulled up the government for not giving the agriculture sector its due in fund allocations and suggested a quantum jump in that to boost farm sector.

“In spite of our economy being agri-dominant and one which sustains more than half of our population, the Committee note with concern that when the issue of distribution of financial resources crops up, the agriculture sector is not given its due by the government,” the Committee on Agriculture said in a report tabled today in Parliament.

The report comes amid the government facing criticism over farmers committing suicides on account of stress in the sector, including last month’s unseasonal rains and hailstorms that destroyed crops in many parts of the country.

The outlay for entire agriculture and allied sectors in 2015-16 has been increased to Rs 11,657 crore, which is about 2.8 per cent of the total central plan outlay of Rs 5,78,382 crore, the committee said.

“This is meager amount” that pales in comparison with the allocation to some of the other vital sectors such as energy of Rs 1,67,342 crore, which is 29 per cent of the central plan outlay, it added.

The allocation for science and technology sector is Rs 19,023 crore, which is 3.3 per cent of the central plan outlay.

“Being well aware of the precarious state of agriculture sector in the country, the Committee fail to understand this rather sordid state of affairs,” the report said.

If the government is serious about reinvigorating the farm sector, the panel said that “the first step in the right direction would be a quantum enhancement in allocation of funds for agriculture and allied sectors”.

It recommended the government to adopt a holistic approach to this vital sector of the economy.

The panel also expressed concern about the variation in the funds sought by the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation and the actual allocations done by the Planning Commission/Finance Ministry.–PTI

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