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State plan panel gives priority to revitalisation of agrarian sector

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browsing: Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi browsing the State Planning Commission’s website at Secretariat in Chennai on Thursday. M. Naganathan, Vice-Chairman of the Planning Commission, is also in the picture.
browsing: Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi browsing the State Planning Commission’s website at Secretariat in Chennai on Thursday. M. Naganathan, Vice-Chairman of the Planning Commission, is also in the picture.

Special Correspondent

Fixes target of at least 4 % growth in agriculture, allied activities

CHENNAI: Conscious of the structural changes in the economy, the State Planning Commission, in its Eleventh Five Year (2007-2012) Plan document, has attached top priority to the revitalisation of the agrarian sector.

Fixing the target of at least four per cent growth in agriculture and allied activities, the Planning Commission said the scheme of distribution two acres of land to landless agricultural labour households would now be extended to private lands where a cluster approach would be followed for bringing marginal lands into productive cultivation.

Encouragement of rainwater harvesting, watershed management and precision farming techniques, providing incentives to water saving techniques and more importance to less water-intensive crops such as pulses and oilseeds were among the strategies recommended by the panel.

Structural changes

Referring to the structural changes, the Plan document said the contributions of the primary and tertiary sectors to the Gross State Domestic Product had changed significantly between 1997-1998 and 2006-2007.

The share of the primary sector comprising agriculture and related activities went down from 18.56 per cent to 13.62 per cent.

The contribution of the secondary sector covering manufacturing, construction, power, gas and water supply saw a slight drop from 29.23 per cent to 28.03 per cent. The share of the tertiary sector, which included trade, hotels, railways, banking, communication, transport and business services, rose from 52.21 per cent to 58.35 per cent.

Against the targeted growth rate of four per cent during the 10th Plan period (2002-2007), the primary sector recorded 2.57 per cent only. The secondary sector grew at 7.5 per annum against the target of 7.12 per cent. The 10th Plan had set a target of 9.77 per cent growth for the tertiary sector but the sector had registered 7.72 per cent.

On the agrarian crisis, the document said that compared to the projection of 106.38 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) per year of foodgrains production, the average annual production was 63.78 LMT, which was less than 85.33 LMT achieved during the 9th Plan period (1997-2002). The fall in the food grains production was attributed to severe drought conditions and floods coupled with tsunami of December 2004. Consequently, this led to increasing income deprivation among rural families, particularly small and marginal farmers and landless labourers. It only helped to accentuate the rural-urban divide.

Manufacturing and construction, major contributors to the growth of the secondary sector, recorded 8.1 per cent and 6.4 per cent per annum respectively during 2002-2007. While textile and leather industries registered negative growth rates in the 10th Plan period (against very high growth rates in the previous plan period), the food products industries had recorded only moderate growth. These industries, being highly labour intensive, should be revived for employment and income generation after addressing the environmental issues.

Though the services sector did not achieve the target fixed for the 10th Plan period, it made a major impact on the economy. In 2004-2005, it achieved an all-time high of 11.62 per cent. Communication, a constituent of the sector and a major propellant, showed 14.8 per cent growth rate. In the area of Information Technology, the State had considerable growth in both hardware and software industries. However, consequent to non-farm sectoral growth, the movement of labour from villages to large urban areas had to be tackled through spatial dispersion of non-farm activities and the provision of better civic amenities in the urban areas.

Noting that the adverse impact of the growth process on ecology was a “major challenge,” the Plan document said the initiative to address issues of effluent treatment in leather, textiles and chemical industries would be taken up in the 11th Plan. Suitable public-private partnership models should be created to manage solid waste and bio-medical waste in urban areas.

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