Krishna highlights Govt's. achievements

BANGALORE Nov. 9. The Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, on Friday presented the achievements of his government during the past three years at the conclave of Congress chief ministers at Mount Abu in Rajasthan.

In a 40-minute presentation at the conclave presided over by the party President, Sonia Gandhi, Mr. Krishna highlighted his government's performance, especially in agriculture and rural development, a statement issued here said. Mr. Krishna highlighted the novel scheme, "Raitha Mitra Yojane", aimed at changing the pattern of the agricultural extension system. He said the scheme was a demand-driven agricultural extension system which replaced the earlier T&V system of agricultural extension in the State.

He claimed that the agricultural extension centres opened under the scheme at the hobli level, called Raitha Samparka Kendras, provided more than the needed extension services to farmers.

Mr. Krishna said the objectives of these kendras were to provide updated information on crop production options, practices, and markets. These kendras would also facilitate onsite provision of critical inputs such as seeds, bio-fertilizers, and micronutrients. These kendras provided a forum for an interface with public and private sector technologies.

Mr. Krishna said 744 Raitha Samparka Kendras had been opened. The kendras would also undertake soil and seed testing operations. Mr. Krishna said that till September this year as many as 2.58 lakh farmers had visited the kendras and 10,400 seeds were analysed for quality. As many as 48,000 soil samples were also analysed.

The Chief Minister also talked about the "Stree Shakti" programme aimed at empowering women. Under this programme, as many as 75,000 self-help groups were formed, covering 15 lakh women. The groups had saved a sum of Rs. 93 crore.

Mr. Krishna said that in order to promote decentralisation and community participation, the Government had increased the annual grant to each gram panchayat from Rs. one lakh to Rs. 3.5 lakh.

He told the conclave that his Government had done much to improve the lot of tribal people. Two Cabinet meetings were held in tribal areas to resolve some of the problems of the tribal communities. The Government had provided Rs. 455.94 crore in budgetary allocations in the past three years as against Rs. 329.78 crore during the five years of the previous government for tribal welfare. He said 55,000 houses were sanctioned for tribal people, of which 21,537 houses were under construction.

Mr. Krishna said efforts were being made to provide a transparent and an accountable administration. The Right to Information Act, the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act, and the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Rules would go a long way in this direction.

He said another major achievement of his Government was the Bhoomi project for the online delivery of land records. The project covered 6.5 million farmers and, in all, benefited 35 million people. A visible result of the project was that there was a decline in litigation over land disputes.

Mr. Krishna said that following the success of the Bhoomi project, the Government had decided to open 100 more kiosks in smaller villages. There was also a move to establish connectivity with banks and courts for easy loans and faster disposal of litigation.

The Chief Minister claimed credit for the Government for effecting power sector reforms under which the State had passed the Electricity Reforms Act and set up the Power Control Commission.

Touching on the progress made in the field of education, Mr. Krishna said his Government was giving special emphasis on the seven educationally backward districts and had constituted a separate directorate to oversee educational programmes in those districts. The Government had allocated Rs. 45 crore for the midday meal scheme this year.

For better management of the State's finance, Mr. Krishna said the Government had launched an economic restructuring programme with the objective of reducing the fiscal deficit to 4.53 per cent by 2003-04. A medium-term fiscal plan had been formulated and placed before the Legislature.

Mr. Krishna also said that four lakh houses had been constructed under the Rajiv Gandhi rural housing programme.

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