CHANDIGARH: Terming agriculture sector “most crucial for development of the country”, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday pleaded that it should be given top priority in the formulation of National Plans.
The Haryana Government, meanwhile, sought dismantling of the Centrally-sponsored schemes (CSS) and devolution of funds giving priority to local initiatives.
Sharing his views on the first meeting of the Governing Council of the NITI Aayog on Sunday at the PM’s residence, Badal asked the Centre to formulate a flagship scheme in consultation with the states, to make agriculture more profitable and economically viable.
Batting for the revival of agriculture sector, which was now become a non-profitable venture due to high input costs and low returns resulting in mounting farmers’ debt and suicides, Badal advocated for the continuation of procurement at MSP by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) till a viable alternative was provided to the farmers. He demanded a special one-time allocation for the restoration and rejuvenation of the century-old canal network in Punjab, which has its carrying capacity reduced by 20 per cent. He also said recommendations of CMs be sought on appointment of experts, specialists and practitioners in the NITI Aayog.
Meanwhile, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar suggested dismantling of the CSS in the next two years and allocation of the earmarked funds to states as flexi-funds for achieving sectoral targets.