The Madhya Pradesh’s agriculture department is going to bring about a major change in its policy and programmes with the commencement of a new five-year plan that starts in 2017.
The decision was taken in view of a scam unearthed a few months back, due to which the benefits of government schemes could not reach ground level.
“The agriculture policy is quite old and it needs to be changed,” confirmed principal secretary, agriculture, Rajesh Rajora, while talking to HT.
He said change in climate and weather patterns was a matter of serious concern and that the agriculture policy needed to be revamped keeping this in mind.
Moreover, with new technological innovations, certain new schemes are to be launched and some old schemes may be modified to meet the demands of time and farmers, and to make agriculture a profitable venture.
The new five-year plan will come in force from 2017. Before that, a series of seminars, conferences and interaction with farmers and agriculture experts will be organised. The “manthan”(brainstorming) series will start from the new year and continue till the policy gets a final shape, said Rajora.
The agriculture department will also change rules to bring in more transparency so the schemes reach the ground level. A scam to the tune of `100 crore was recently unearthed in the department, where most of its schemes were found operating only on paper.
The agriculture department has at present put most of its schemes online to prevent corruption and break the official and trader nexus that has been harming farmers’ interests.
An inquiry was ordered after some complaints reached the headquarters. Four deputy directors had been suspended and a process is underway to lodge FIRs against other erring officials.
The inquiry team found financial irregularities in almost all schemes related to agriculture department, including sprinkler, pipeline and drip set scheme, seed distribution programme, Soorajdhara and Annapurna scheme, Beejgram scheme, Balram Talab Scheme, Organic farming scheme, Fertiliser and insecticide quality control programme, Diesel pump and other agricultural tools buying schemes, crop demonstration scheme, Dalhan scheme under National Food Security Mission and some others.
These reports point to huge discrepancies in the accounts which did not tally with other registers of the department.