FM urges to submit 2nd green revolution projects

Kolkata: Funds for the Centre`s proposed second green revolution in the eastern states would not be a problem if the state governments submitted their proposals, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Sunday.

"We allotted Rs 300 crore (for the programme) in the first year and another Rs 300 crore in the second year. But it is not a question of money, it is a question of availability of projects," Mukherjee said at the 111th annual general meeting of the Bharat Chamber of Commerce (BCC).

During several round of meetings with the chief ministers of the states concerned, he said, he had appealed to them to submit project proposals for the programme. "I told them, please formulate the projects and the necessary funds will be provided."

Noting that rural infrastructure and cold chains needed to be developed and modern technology injected to increase the shelf life of agricultural products, he said price difference between farm grains and edible grains had to be minimised in order to make the programme successful.

"But for this, the state governments concerned will have to take appropriate initiatives because implementation of the programme essentially lies with them," he said.

Observing that there was a huge gap in infrastrcuture requirement, he said while the investment in that sector during the 11th plan period stood at 565 million USD, the investment requirement under the 12th plan will be One trillion USD.

Stating that one third of the investment will come from the private sector, he said that to facilitate the inflow of investments from the private sector the goverment had announced tax incentives and both the RBI and SEBI were formulating guidelines to make funds operational through mutual funds and NBFCs.

Stating that Centre`s initiative in setting up 60,000 pulses villages have resulted in a net rise in pulses production by 2.1 million tonne, Mukherjee said this has reduced to some extent the `very high` price of the commodity.

The government had also proposed to set up 60,000 oil seed villages in the country in its budget last year, he said.

Observing that the present economic situation was `difficult,` he said the areas of concern were the slow growth rate, high inflation, fiscal imbalance and the current account deficit "caused by certain factors on which the domestic policy makers do not have much control".

"The difficult situation requires hard, positive and assertive action from all stake holders," he said, adding that measures taken by the government had helped bring inflation under control.

Agreeing that Kolkata had the potential to be the gateway for the Prime Minister`s Look East Policy, he said that necessary infrastructure needed to be developed for the purpose.

"The proposed road link from Myanmar to Mizoram and the railway connecting India with Hanoi (Vietnam) will enrich the Look East policy. And West Bengal, as the gateway, can take maximum advantage. But for this, we will have to work collectively," he said.