The NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog should continue to determine the levels of funds to be allocated to the States and fix Plan expenditure like the erstwhile Planning Commission, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said.
At the first meeting of the NITI Aayog here on Sunday, Mr. Chandy said the Aayog should continue the functions performed by the Planning Commission of determining, in consultation with the Finance Ministry and State governments, the amount of resources to be made available to the States for Plan and budget preparation.
Observing that the Centre’s ambitious Beti Bachao Abhiyan and Jan Dhan Yojana programmes were not relevant for Kerala as it had already achieved high standards in these area, Mr. Chandy asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allocate the funds meant for such programmes to develop Kerala’s dwindling agriculture productivity.
“There should be much more focus on making agriculture a viable and productive occupation through a suitable flagship programme, which should focus on research-oriented assistance to agriculturists,” the Chief Minister said.
He said farmers who repaid loans on time should be entitled to interest-free loans through interest subsidies provided by the Centre and State governments.
“In my opinion, interest subsidy of the Centre should be increased from the present 3 per cent to 4 per cent. The Centre will make sure that loan from NABARD reaches the farmer at 7 per cent interest,” he said.
Mr. Chandy said the States needed maximum flexibility to take care of their own specific concerns such as second generation issues in education and health sectors or special schemes for ageing population.