No taker for 43-year-old Save Grain campaign

Published: Monday 31 March 2008

the Save Grain campaign, initiated 43 years ago, came to an end on February 29, 2008. The centre wanted states to take it up because agriculture is a state subject but states did not want any "added responsibility". Finding no takers, the centre had little choice but to go with the recommendation of the Expenditure Reforms Commission set up by the Union Ministry of Finance, to end the campaign.

"Through this campaign, the central government was to initiate and train state governments in warehousing and storage of grains," said an official at the ministry of consumer affairs. Initiated in 1965 as a pilot project, the campaign had 17 offices by 1979 across the country. Funds were allocated by the Planning Commission but in 1971, it was brought under the purview of non-plan expenditure. The phasing out began in 2005 with five units. The remaining were closed recently.

There is still a lot of confusion. "We haven't yet received a formal relieving letter. We don't know what awaits us," says P K Dwivedi, assistant regional director, Save Grain, Lucknow. D V Singh, assistant regional director of the campaign in Ghaziabad says, "We were one of a kind who worked at the grassroots with farmers ensuring their grains were stored free of pests or any kind of spoilage."

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