To tap technology to the full

The agriculture policy being formulated by the State government to exploit the opportunities provided by the new technology for the sector will be presented in the next Assembly session, Minister for Agriculture K.P. Mohanan has said.

Replying to questions in the Assembly on Wednesday, the Minister said the draft of the policy, being worked out by the former legislator K. Krishnankutty, would be presented in the House and discussions held with people’s representatives, farmers, and all stakeholders before finalising the policy.

Mr. Mohanan said the attempt of the government was to make Kerala a bio-agriculture State by 2016 and the department was working out an agricultural calendar for the benefit of farmers. The Agriculture Department has tied up with panchayats to convert barren land into fertile land.

Farmers’ database

A database of farmers is being prepared at the panchayat level. The Minister said the database would help the department to work out schemes more efficiently, know the real beneficiaries, and to make available more assistance of the department to farmers. The department will be helpful in making available subsidy directly to farmers through banks.

Krishi Vijnan Bhavans

Detailing the steps taken by the department, the Minister said 14 Krishi Vijnan Bhavans had been set up in the districts. Seven of these bhavans are under the Kerala Agricultural University. Ten biotechnology labs have been set up under the university, he added.

Town, country planning

Minister for Urban Affairs Manjalamkuzhi Ali said the Kerala Town and Country Planning Act would be framed soon by compiling the Town Planning Act, Town and Country Planning Act, and Madras Town Planning Act for ensuring the planned development of towns and villages. The draft of the new rule was ready with the department.

Pleas with NoRKA

Minister for Non-Resident Keralites Affairs (NoRKA) and Rural Development K.C. Joseph said 119 applications of those who had been involved in various cases in other countries were pending with NoRKA. Lawyers from advocates panel in Indian Embassies are being utilised to get these persons released, Mr. Joseph told the House.

Master’s programme

Minister for Education P.K. Abdu Rabb said all universities could commence International Master’s Programme from the 2014-15 academic year. The educational offices in Pathanamthitta and Thiruvalla will be bifurcated to create a district education office based in Adoor.

The Minister told the House that the Director of Public Instruction had commenced the preliminary work to set up the new DEO office.

More In: Kerala | National