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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 29, 2007
Centre ready to provide additional fund for irrigation benefit programme: Montek
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Centre ready to provide additional fund for irrigation benefit programme: Montek

Deputy Chairmen of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia today said the Centre has agreed to provide additional funds for Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP).

New Delhi, May 29 : Deputy Chairmen of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia today said the Centre has agreed to provide additional funds for Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP).

Addressing the 53rd meeting of National Development Council on issues relating to Agriculture here, Ahluwalia said: "The Finance Minister (P. Chidambaram) has agreed to provide additional resources for this programme (AIBP) beyond the amount included in the budget in the current year."

Commenting on the problems faced during investing more in irrigation, he said: "While investing more in irrigation, must also avoid the problems experienced in the 10th Plan when the target for expenditure on irrigation was exceeded, but the addition to potential irrigated areas was only 50 per cent of the target, and actual area under irrigation did not increase at all."

Contract management in AIBP projects should be improved through resort to fixed time contracts, which yield much better results, he added.

On yield gap, he said, "Although the potential yield gap is large, it is important to recognise that realising these yields requires co-ordinated effort and additional cost."

Part of the additional cost has to be met through increased public investment, or publicly funded plan expenditure on irrigation, watershed management, rural roads, the extension system etc, Ahluwalia added.

Speaking about the state allocations towards agriculture, he said: "State allocations to agriculture have shrunk relative to other sectors and for the content of state plans is often driven by the various Central schemes dealing with individual crops.

Often, the state agricultural plan is little more than the aggregation of the states' share of various Central schemes, Ahluwalia added.

ANI

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