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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

RASHTRIYA KRISHI VIKAS YOJANAPunjab lost ₹1,400 cr in 7 yrs forfailing to contribute its share

chandigarh Updated: Oct 09, 2019 23:01 IST
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Hindustantimes
         

Owing to financial crunch, the Punjab government has lost at least ₹1,400 crore in seven years as it failed to avail full benefit of the Centre’s Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).

The Union government launched the RKVY in 2007 as an umbrella scheme for ensuring holistic development of agriculture and allied sectors.

The state lost a whopping ₹1,000 crore of central funds since 2015-16 when the Centre converted the scheme from 100% grant-in-aid to a Centre-state venture, fixing the contribution of funds in the ratio of 60:40.

“The state just failed to contribute its share as mandated in the scheme on yearly basis and the annual allocation witnessed a drastic fall due to which a large number of programs of in the state suffered,” said an agriculture department official not wanting to be named.

The state had then objected to the change in the scheme and requested the Centre to make it 90:10 for the Centre-state contribution, but to no avail.

But when it was a 100% grant-in-aid scheme, the state failed to get ₹395 crore in three years (from 2012-13, 2013-14 to 2014-15) as it was unable to manage funds and utilisation certificate could not be sent. The state failed to get ₹60.10 crore, ₹240.04 crore and ₹95 crore central funds in 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15.

The funds are used in extension services in agriculture and animal husbandry departments, Markfed, Milkfed, state agro-corporation, horticulture, fisheries, forests, soil conservation, remote-sensing, PAU and GADVASU and for dairy development.

The state suffered a maximum loss in 2017-18 when it failed to get ₹337.60 crore central share. In 2015-16 and 2016-17, the loss was ₹204.96 crore and ₹195.62 crore.

Agriculture director Sutantar Kumar Airi said efforts are on to improve the system of procuring funds from the Centre. “We will soon hold a meeting of state-level sanction committee (SLSC) so that we have a fair idea how much state government can genuinely contribute,” he added. He accepted that due to fiscal crunch, receiving funds from the Centre are a problem.

The SLSC meeting due in March 2019 is yet to be held resulting in a loss of ₹137.97 crore to the state.

Suggesting improvements in operating procedure to make scheme beneficial, the agriculture department has urged the government for holding SLSC meeting in March. The funds received from the Centre in April should be released immediately to the implementing agencies and utilisation certificates of 60% expenditure are sent to the Centre in October so the next instalment is claimed.

“When we get the second instalment, it can be kept in the state treasury for three to four months till February. All implementing agencies should be given administrative approval with a commitment that funds would be released by February. With this, funds would be utilised expeditiously and the state government could get second instalment under the RKVY which otherwise could not be availed during the previous year,” the department suggested.

But before these suggestions could be implemented, the allocation for the scheme for 2019-20 has been reduced to ₹137.92 crore, with Centre’s share cut down to ₹82.75 crore.

THE SCHEME

The National Development Council in 2007 decided to launch RKVY and sustain a growth of 4% in agriculture sector. The scheme is aimed to incentivise the states that increase their investment in agriculture and allied sectors and provides in flexibility to the states in planning and executing programs for agriculture. Preparation of plans at the district-level is important under the scheme. The baseline expenditure is determined on average expenditure incurred by a state in three years.