Bigger outlay for agri in budget; focus on irrigation

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Bhubaneswar: Agriculture will see increased allocation in the state budget for 2016-17 with greater emphasis on irrigation.

At the first Agriculture Cabinet meet on Thursday, the Finance, Agriculture and other concerned departments have been asked to increase the spending for Agriculture sector.

“The Agriculture Cabinet Committee has directed the Planning & Coordination department, Finance department, Agriculture and Farmers empowerment department, and other related departments to enhance the outlay of the Agriculture budget” said chief minister Naveen Patnaik after the meeting.

The discussions at the meeting chaired by chief minister Naveen Patnaik, revealed that the government’s focus will be on creating additional irrigation potential of the State and the extent to which funds already allocated for the purpose have been utilized. “The focus areas of the agriculture budget will be to increase the area under irrigation and reduce the gap between irrigation potential available in the State and the actual area brought under irrigation so far,” added Patnaik.

Assistance to farmers affected by natural disaster, provision of loans for farmers, enhancement of productivity, usage of modern technology and equipment are also some of the other areas which the budget will lay emphasis, said sources.

Moreover, post-harvest management – sale and storage- will also see increase focus in the upcoming budget.

On the other hand, the opposition parties have mocked the Agriculture Cabinet, alleging that the State government has grossly failed in ensuring agriculture and farmers’ development. “The State government should first change its viewpoint and it has to people and farmer-centric. We need such a change in outlook, not an Agriculture Cabinet,” said BJP’s Sajjan Sharma.

“The Agriculture Policy is still a dream and the report of the Agriculture Commission has been put in cold storage. The chief minister is only fooling the farmers of the State through his eloquent dialogues. If the government can ensure proper implementation then it will be successful, else this Agriculture Cabinet will be just another facade,” said Orissa Pradesh Kissan Khet Mazdoor Sangh chairman Amiya Patnaik.

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