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Centre urged to ‘incentivise’ agriculture

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Special Correspondent

Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy addresses National Development Council meeting in New Delhi

YSR concerned over growing gap between foodgrain production and population growth

54th meeting of the National Development Council discusses the draft XI Five-Year Plan

NEW DELHI: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy on Wednesday made out a case for reversing the deceleration in agriculture during the XI Five-Year Plan period to address the rural distress facing the country.

Addressing the 54th meeting of the National Development Council here to discuss the draft XI plan, Dr. Reddy said the deceleration of the rural sector following a substantial fall in public investment in the agriculture sector was the root cause for farmers’ distress leading to suicides.

The malady, he said, can be addressed only by incentivising the States to enhance public investments in agriculture and allied sectors.

Plea

Further, the Chief Minister urged the Planning Commission to modify the parameters of the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana by including irrigation investments.

Expressing concern at the growing gap in the growth of foodgrains production and population growth, he called for renewed emphasis on agricultural research and extension network.

Referring to the successful implementation of the agriculture insurance scheme and the livestock insurance scheme in certain districts of the State, Dr Reddy suggested that they be extended all over the country during XI plan.

Welcoming the positive impact of the Prime Minister’s special package for districts with farmers’ distress, he suggested its continuance during the XI Plan.

Sarva Siksha Abhiyan

Welcoming the increase in allocation for the education sector from 7.68 per cent during the X plan to 19.23 per cent during the XI Plan, Dr Reddy demanded continuance of the Centre’s contribution to Sarva Siksha Abhiyan at 75 per cent.

Any reduction in the Centre’s contribution, he said, would adversely impact the interest of students of rural and weaker sections like Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Further, he suggested extending the mid-day meal programme up to Class X.

Further, the Chief Minister sought higher investments in power generation.

According to him, the State has plans to add 14,000 MW power generation capacity during the XI plan and to reduce transmission and distribution losses to 17.08 per cent by 2000-10.

And, he was hopeful of the Hyderabad Metro and High Speed Corridor, interconnecting the South Indian States, becoming a reality by 2012.

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