Bundelkhand needs long-term policies and investment for its development

 

This is the press release from Indian Prime Minister’s office

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http://pib.nic.in/newsite/mbErel.aspx?relid=138741

Press Information Bureau
Government Of India
Prime Minister’s Office
(10-April, 2016 18:20 IST )
Union Government commits for Bundelkhand (UP) development

Prime Minister directs a high level review of drought situation in Bundelkhand, Vidharbha and Marathwada. First such review about Bundelkhand was held in Prime Minister’s Office on 09.04.2016. Chief Secretary UP and his team made a presentation and Secretaries of the concerned departments of Government of India were also present.

Relief Measures

High Level Committee chaired by the Union Home Minister has recommended Rs. 1304 crore for drought relief to UP under National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF). The State Government would disburse the relief amount directly into the bank accounts of farmers within a week. It was decided that Government of UP will forward a Memorandum for Rabi 2016 soon. Ministry of Home Affairs will examine if an exemption can be given under SDRF on 25% limit and continuation of distribution of food component beyond 90 days.

Drinking Water : Chief Secretary, UP informed that a comprehensive contingency plan to address the drinking water situation in Bundelkhand region especially Mahoba, Chitrakoot and Banda districts of Chitrakoot division are ready. He further assured that drinking water will be made available.

Employment & Livelihood : Provision of extending mandays from 100 to 150 under MNREGS in the Bundelkhand for financial year 2016-17 was approved. State Government will ensure distribution of Rs. 700 crore released under the labour component of MGNREGS directly to the eligible beneficiaries via electronic payment system.

It was decided that to provide alternate source of income National Rural Livelihood Mission would be strengthened and intensified and coverage would be extended to all the blocks.

Food Security : Chief Secretary, UP confirmed that NFSA has been implemented w.e.f. 01.01.2016. Accordingly, food grain allocation has been enhanced in Bundelkhand. State Government was advised to ensure Aadhar seeding of MNREGS beneficiaries and ration cards on high priority.

Bundelkhand Package

During the meeting, implementation of previous Bundelkhand package was high on agenda. It was brought to the notice that Rs. 264 crore was released by NITI Aayog on 31.03.2016 to complete the committed liabilities on ongoing projects in UP as a one-time grant. It was agreed that the State Government would ensure completion of all ongoing 37 Piped Water Schemes on priority. Further, the warehousing marketing infrastructure built under the package needs to be better utilized.

Drought Proofing

It was also decided that water tanks, building of dug wells, farm ponds would be taken up on priority under various projects and schemes for Bundelkhand. CEO, NITI Aayog in consultation with State Government will explore the possibility of taking up fresh projects for drought proofing from the resources available under the package for Bundelkhand region.

Agriculture

It was brought out that Sesame is the most important Kharif crop in Bundelkhand. It was agreed that MSP for Sesame for 2016-17 be announced expeditiously. A bonus of Rs. 20 for Bundelkhand region over and above the MSP shall be considered. State Government would finalise a procurement plan for Sesame in consultation with Secretary, Agriculture.

To focus on boosting agricultural production and productivity in Bundelkhand region State Government will send a proposal for introduction of a new sub scheme under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.

Crop Insurance : It was noted that the coverage of crop insurance scheme in UP is between 7 to10% only. However, the coverage in Bundelkhand due to distress situation is around 30 percent. More than 250 crores in Rabi 2014-15 and around Rs. 180 crore in Kharif 2015 has been distributed as claims benefitting around 3.34 lakh and 2.16 lakh farmers respectively.

State Government was asked to ensure maximum coverage of farmers in the recently launched Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and it was agreed that the State Government would hold district wise camps to ensure that both loanee and non-loanee farmers are covered in a campaign mode.

Irrigation

Secretary, Water Resources was requested to ensure release of funds on priority for the nine ongoing projects under Repair, Rejuvenation and Restoration (RRR) of water bodies.

CEO, NITI Aayog, Secretary (Water Resources), Principal Secretary (Irrigation), UP will meet on 12th April, 2016 to resolve various issues pertaining to Arjun Sahayak, Varuna and Banasagar irrigation projects. CEO NITI Aayog in consultation with State Government will also resolve the pending proposals of drinking water at the earliest.

Cooperative Federalism

It was also agreed that various development proposals especially under PMGSY, drinking water, village electrification etc. should have wider consultation with local public representatives especially Members of Parliament.

As per the Prime Minister’s vision and in the true spirit of cooperative federalism, Government of India and the State Government will together work for long term sustainable solutions to address the problem of vulnerable regions in natural distress.

***
AKT/HS
(Release ID :138741)

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My view

This is good, but more needs to be done to deal with economic backwardness of Bundelkhand. Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh Governments are also doing many good things for their parts of the region. UP Chief Minister announced several projects worth Rs 1400 Crore for the region recently, while delivering the UP Budget (http://tinyurl.com/jhy94bx).  Uttar Pradesh asked Central Govt for a Rs 7000 crore Bundelkhand package. Packages are fine and necessary, and the region deserves it, but there is a need for a systemic & policy co-ordination between various Governments for long-term outcomes.  I believe there should be a high-powered Bundelkhand Development Council (Bundelkhand Vikas Parishad), chaired by either Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi or Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh, or Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitly, and with membership of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Sri Akhilesh Yadav and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Sri Shivraj Singh Chouhan, CEO of Niti Ayog and 2 Economists, to formulate comprehensive policies for long-term investment in and development of Bundelkhand. Significant encouragement including tax holidays and finance support should be provided to facilitate setting up of industries. This will generate employment and will help alleviate poverty.

 

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/11th April, 2016

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