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Bihar sets up agriculture Cabinet

Shoumojit Banerjee
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To combat chronic recurrence of floods and drought, Bihar has become the first State in the country to constitute an exclusive “agriculture Cabinet” to address the problems afflicting the farmers.

The government decision comes in the wake of the State's agriculture being severely hit by two successive droughts, in addition to being regularly mauled by floods, most notably the 2008 Kosi disaster which ravaged north-eastern Bihar.

The move also forms part of the government's impressive game plan to foster a second Green Revolution which would have Bihar as its nerve centre.

The novel Cabinet, headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, comprises Ministers from 18 agriculturally relevant departments including water resources, irrigation, rural works, energy and animal husbandry.

At an intensive five-hour meeting on Tuesday, Mr. Kumar issued directives for constitution of 14 different committees which would tackle diverse problems from soil conservation to information technology.

The agriculture committee would focus on the farmers' immediate needs like electricity and seed procurement. It would be supported by ancillary committees pertaining to road connectivity, research and education, bio-technology, disaster management and ecology among others.

The committee's other vital function would be to monitor the “Krishi Road Map”, formulated by the State Government in February 2008 to qualitatively bolster Bihar's agriculture.

The government has earmarked Rs.848 crore for 2011-12 for various farmer-friendly schemes under this road map.


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