Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced the setting up of a high-level task force for undertaking structural reforms in agriculture, including strengthening logistics, produce marketing, food processing as well as changes to the Essential Commodities Act.
Speaking at the fifth meeting of the NITI Aayog governing council, Mr. Modi pitched for foundational reforms in the agri-economy, leading to a complete transformation of the agriculture sector in India. While a few chief ministers will be part of the committee, more details are to be announced later.
Additionally, with parts of India experiencing drought situation, some States asked for changes in the National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) guidelines. They will work with MHA and Agriculture ministry to make changes.
Stating that India is targeting a $5 trillion economy by 2024, the Prime Minister asked the States improve their respective economies by two to two-and-a-half times. This would result in an increase in the common man's purchasing power, he added. The States, he said, can focus on their export potential.
Mr Modi said the goal to make India a $5 trillion dollar economy is challenging but can be achieved with concerted efforts of States.
The meeting was attended by the Chief Ministers of all States barring those from West Bengal, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.
At the meeting there was broad consensus on reducing water wastage, promoting efficient water conservation practices with rain-water harvesting to be undertaken at the household and community level with proactive policy and investment support.
Talking about the Aspirational Districts scheme, Mr. Modi said many of them are affected by Naxal violence. However, he added, that the battle against Naxal violence is now in a decisive phase and will be dealt with firmly.
“The geographical area of influence of Leftwing Extremism (LWE) has shrunk and the number of perpetrators of violence has declined significantly,” Mr Modi said. He assured that the Centre will continue to provide assistance to the States to completely eradicate this issue over next ten years,” an official statement said.