Dedicated grid for agriculture to increase food grain production
Bihar has launched an agriculture roadmap for the state, with the aim of ushering in a ‘Rainbow Revolution’. The initiative was launched by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, on October 3 during his two-day maiden visit to the state. The ambitious two-phase, five-year roadmap for the fiscal years 2012 to 2017 and 2017 to 2022, aims at setting up an exclusive 1,500 MW power network for agriculture. The power network will curb dependence of farmers on diesel generators for farming. The plan also includes innovative idea of integrating solar power with fisheries. The state government under the slogan of upar bijli aur neeche paani (electricity above and fish below) is planning to install solar panels around the ponds for tapping green energy. The budget for the first fiscal is Rs 1.5 lakh crore.
The state government also plans to connect villages with a population of more than 250 people through road network. This will help rural population reach wholesale markets to directly sell their produce.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, during his welcome speech, reiterated the need for special status for Bihar. “Bihar has changed and it needs special status for development,” he said. He also announced that this roadmap will lead to Rainbow Revolution that will motivate other states to adopt similar policies to enhance agricultural output.
Revealing some of the details of the roadmap he highlighted that food grain production will be increased to 25.2 million tonnes, fruit production to six million tonnes, vegetable production to 18.6 million tonnes, milk production to 10,000 litres and fish production to 886,000 tonnes.
The roadmap also links production with storage. The storage capacity of grains will be increased three-fold to 6.5 million tonnes. It will also increase cold storage capacity to 7.5 million tonnes by the year 2017.
Kumar also apprised the president about the seed and fertiliser policy of the state government. Farmers are being given free seeds and a series of changes have been made for effective distribution of fertilisers to farmers. “We have integrated eight government departments to ensure implementation of the agriculture roadmap,” he said.
During his inaugural speech, Mukherjee said that money is not an issue but what is required is an integrated roadmap for agriculture development in the country. “A professor’s son wants to become a professor, a politician’s son wants to become a politician but a farmer’s son does not want to become a farmer,” he said. He added that the agriculture roadmap envisioned by chief minister will change this trend.
Governor of Bihar, Devanand Konwar, cited agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan’s vision for evergreen green revolution in the country. He said, population is increasing in a geometrical progession but food production is increasing in arithmetical progression. “It’s tough time for agriculture sector to feed the rapidly growing population. A series of green revolution will ultimately result in evergreen green revolution in the country,” he added.
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