The need to co-ordinate any future construction pertaining to navigation from the sea to the backwaters in Kerala with the coastal protection plan was underlined by Mr. George M. Watts, American expert on control of sea erosion, in an interview in Trivandrum on November 7. Mr. Watts studied sea erosion problems in Kerala for the last three weeks, covering over a thousand miles along the coast and in the hinterland. He rounded off his visit with a four-day discussion with the State engineers. In his report to be submitted through “USAID” (U.S. Agency for International Development) which made his services available to the Government of India, Mr. Watts said he would propose a long-range plan for shore stabilisation at critical points and other points which might be in danger.
At the conference of State Finance Ministers held in New Delhi on November 7, the States did not agree to the replacement of sales tax by a Central excise duty on a larger number of articles than are subject to this arrangement at present, it is learnt. They also did not pledge any further uniformity in the levy and administration of sales tax as between States. They agreed, however, that they would as far as possible make the levy and collection of agricultural income-tax more uniform. This was in response to the reference made by the Union Finance Minister, Mr. T.T. Krishnamachari, to agricultural income-tax which, he said, needed rationalising for purposes of securing a measure of uniformity. The States also agreed to establish sinking funds for the redemption of their public debt, wherever such funds do not obtain at present.
Tardy pace of farm output
Mr. Swaran Singh, Union Minister of Food and Agriculture, on November 7 asked the newly constituted agricultural research team to ascertain the causes of the slow rate of agricultural production in the country during the last few years. Mr. Swaran Singh met the Chairman, Dr. Marion Wesley Parker, and members of his team. Dr. Ram Subhag Singh. Dr. Parker is Director of the Agricultural Research Division of the United States Agriculture Department.