Special Correspondent

Vested interests trying to drive a wedge between people: Minister

CHENNAI: No room should be given for passion on the Cauvery water issue as it involves the interest of millions of farmers in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, Minister of State for Planning M.V. Rajasekaran said here on Monday.

Farmers in the two States should adopt a give-and-take policy. If they feared that the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal was detrimental to their interests, they should sort out their differences through negotiations. Vested interests were trying to drive a wedge between the people of the States, which depended on each other for their survival and which had much in common, he told reporters.

Mr. Rajasekaran said the Centre had allotted Rs. 13,500 crore to Tamil Nadu for the next financial year, considerably higher than this year's allocation. Tamil Nadu's record in plan implementation was good.

11th Plan

During the 11th Plan, more emphasis would be laid on development of agriculture and infrastructure and social services. The National Development Council, which would meet under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister after the Budget session of Parliament, would discuss the reports of various agricultural committees and work out strategies to implement the recommendations.

The rural employment guarantee scheme benefited six crore people. In the next financial year, it will cover more youth, he said.

Admitting that implementation of welfare schemes for the Scheduled Castes and Tribes was not satisfactory, Mr. Rajasekaran said States had been asked not to allow the funds to lapse.

The Centre had introduced online transfer of funds to States, and from the States to panchayats.

About one lakh information centres had been opened in rural areas to help farmers know the latest market trends of various commodities. More centres would be opened.