THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Giving a thrust towards promoting farm mechanisation in the state, the Agriculture Department has decided to constitute a 14-member executive committee for streamlining the activities of the proposed Kerala State Agricultural Mechanisation Mission (KSAMM). The executive committee will have Agriculture Minister V S Sunilkumar as its chairman, the Principal Secretary (Agriculture) as its vice-chairman and Kerala Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor as its member secretary.
It is also learned an initiative has also been mooted to appoint a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) so as to prepare an annual action plan to achieve the desired objectives being listed under KSAMM. “When KSAMM was constituted in October last year, it was aimed at providing a single functional, controlling and monitoring unit to coordinate and enforce all government-level initiatives to promote farm mechanisation in the state. Now we are initiating efforts to bolster the same through the constitution of an executive committee and by appointing a CEO,” said an officer with the Agriculture Department.
At the same time, an order from the Agriculture Department says the executive committee will become the highest decision and policy-making body and officials, including the Mission Director, will have to function as per the guidance of the executive committee. “The plan is such the CEO will have to submit an annual action plan to the Mission Director. Upon his examination, it will have to be submitted to the executive committee by April . It is the executive committee that will take a decision on approving the action plan,” said the officer.
At the same time, it has been mandated in the order that the executive committee will have to be held once in every month. With farm mechanisation operations and ensuring skilled manpower for the same remaining two of the core areas of the government, it has been widely considered the constitution of KSAMM will bolster such efforts. The proposed body is also expected to ensure a coordinated operation and functioning of Agro-Service Centers (ASC) and Karshika Karma Sena .
“At present, the functioning of ASC and KKS is not that satisfactory. The same is the case with the
Research Testing and Training Centre and Regional Training Centres. By bringing these agencies and initiatives under one roof, we are providing a booster to the farm sector. The KSAMM will also address the issue of under-utilisation of machinery,” said the officer.
Earlier, as part of constituting KSAMM, the Agriculture Department had come out with an internal report shedding light on the ineffectiveness from the part of various government and non-government agencies in ensuring the mechanisation programmes in the farming sector are being implemented effectively.
The report while observing even though the government was spending crores of rupees as subsidies for mechanisation activities and for the purchase of machinery under various government and non-government agencies, it further states the lack of coordination and professional management has turned to be an impediment in achieving the desired results.
The report had further highlighted that though various agencies and departments had a good number of machinery at their disposal, it largely remains under-utilised and farmers had to depend on the service of combine harvesters brought in by brokers from Tamil Nadu and other states by paying a hefty price.
Agri Min to lead
A 14-member executive committee will be constituted for streamlining the activities of the proposed Kerala State Agricultural Mechanisation Mission. Agriculture Minister V S Sunilkumar will be its chairman