Minister for Rural Development and Culture K.C. Joseph told the Assembly on Monday that the dairy sector was witnessing qualitative change after the present government came to power.

Replying to the debate on the demands for grants for Dairy and Community Development, the Minister said the milk production had gone up by 30 per cent after the government increased milk prices. While the price was increased by Rs.5 a litre, Rs.4.20 was passed on to the farmers.

Central schemes

Mr. Joseph said the expenditure under various Central schemes for community development had gone up significantly during the past one year. The previous government had spent only Rs.583 crore under the Prime Minister’s Gramin Sadak Yojana against sanctioned amount of Rs.976 crore, whereas other States had used several times that amount.

The present government had taken steps to tender more than 300 road works under the programme. An inquiry was being ordered into irregularities in the construction of roads in Aryanadu panchayat of Thiruvananthapuram district.

He said that the creation of jobs under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme now stood at 44.46 days against national average of 39.95 days. During the LDF rule, this was 36 days.

Plan funds

He denied the allegation that the government decision to set apart 45 per cent of the Plan funds for local self-governments for infrastructure led to reduction of funds for productive sectors. The government had increased untied funds granted to local self-governments and this would increase expenditure in the productive sectors. The previous government had increased allocation for infrastructure from 35 to 40 per cent, he recalled.

After the Minister’s reply, the House passed the demands for grants.

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