Andhra Pradesh CM says state committed to set target of 9-9.5% growth rate for 12th Five Year Plan

Andhra Pradesh CM says state committed to set target of 9-9.5% growth rate for 12th Five Year Plan

Hyderabad: The Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy today said that Andhra Pradesh is committed to set an ambitious target of 9-9.5% growth rate for the 12th Five Year Plan period (2012-13 to 2016-17). He said that during the 11th Plan period all the three sectors of the economy in the State have registered impressive growth and Agriculture sector posted an average growth in excess of 6.5% during the four years of the 11th Plan so far.

The Chief Minister said one secret of our recent success is the effective implementation of FRBM Act. He said a prudent financial management through efficient mopping up of resources and their judicious deployment has continuously decreased fiscal deficits and eliminated revenue deficit altogether. Mr Kiran Kumar Reddy said Andhra Pradesh is the only State to have implemented comprehensive Participatory irrigation management policy with 100% water tax ploughed back, whereby the operations and management of irrigation has become self sufficient. The Chief Minister said that the State is always committed to implement all the developmental programmes that are useful to the larger section of the society, especially the under-privileged with a broad inclusive strategy during the 12th Plan period. He was speaking at the Regional Consultations of Chief Ministers of Southern States on the Approach Paper to the 12th Five Year Plan at Bengaluru today. Here is the full text of the Chief Minister’s speech: It’s my proud privilege to be with this august gathering this morning in connection with the Regional Consultation of Southern States for preparation of the Approach paper for 12th Five Year Plan.

I applaud the Planning Commission for their efforts in getting the views of different segments of the Society in its endeavour to involve the larger public in the Planning process. I take this opportunity to briefly outline our strategies and concerns in designing an approach for the 12th Plan. After achieving a decent growth rate of 7.93% during the 11th Plan so far, Andhra Pradesh is committed to set an ambitious target of 9-9.5% for the 12th Five Year Plan period (2012-13 to 2016-17). The interesting feature of our growth story during the 11th Plan period is the fact that all the three sectors of the economy have registered impressive growth. Agriculture sector whose future in the State once looked very gloomy, posted an average growth in excess of 6.5% during the four years of the 11th Plan so far. Inspired by the performance during 11th Plan, the State is also gearing up for the activity of making preparatory arrangements for 12th Five Year Plan in identifying the appropriate growth strategies and preparing Strategy papers. Development and Welfare have been the twin-agenda of Andhra Pradesh State which is blessed with a competitive edge in several areas and is expected to be so in years to come. The Basic theme of the 12th Five Year Plan is ‘Faster, More inclusive and Sustainable growth’.

It is pertinent to appreciate the theme of the 12th Plan especially in the wake of the growth that has been achieved in the recent past and the need to sustain it for the future generations. One secret of our recent success is the effective implementation of FRBM Act. A prudent financial management through efficient mopping up of resources and their judicious deployment has continuously decreased fiscal deficits and eliminated revenue deficit altogether. Andhra Pradesh had received a number of severe jolts to its economy due to a succession of natural calamities, putting on it a cumulative strain estimated at Rs 20,000 crores. Unless the State is compensated suitably in this regard, it feels increasing difficulties in complying with FRBM norms. There is need to increase the amount of relief provided to victims of natural calamities like farmers, weavers, fishermen etc, considering the rising costs. We are making efforts to increase the production of agricultural crops through productivity enhancement, Crop diversification and optimized input use. We are planning to encourage high value commodities and promote agro-processing industry and agri-business.

Our concern and focus during the 12th Plan would be on improving the functioning of the institutions related to markets, credit and agricultural research and enhancing investment in infrastructure, viz. cold storage facilities, roads, ports. Our plan is to have 835 cold storages in place in 5 years. We want to further promote water use efficiency through micro-irrigation practices. One area of concern is the widening disparity between the rising costs of inputs and the relatively static MSP, causing hardship and agitation among the farmers frequently. We need to refine our formulae for fixing the MSP, that is more firmly indexed to the cost of inputs. Foodgrain Production in the State is expected to touch 300 Lakh MTs by the end of the 12th Plan. Productivity enhancement through Micro-nutrient application and promoting SRI (System of Rice Intensification) to enhance water use is to go upto 3 lakh hectares this year & One million hectares by 2016-17. The tools to achieve the desired targets would be Drip Irrigation in field crops, Seed Replacement, Dry land agriculture, Focus on oil palm development and Market linked supply chain development. There is also the need to consciously promote organic farming through appropriate policy interventions. In addition to crop husbandry, we plan to lay emphasis on the activities allied to agriculture also.

These include taking care of the 92 Lakh farm families engaged in Livestock rearing activities in the State. 3000 para workers are covering the State in breed improvement and support systems to livestock. With regard to enhancement of milk procurement, establishing BMCUs and Laboratories at MCC/BMCU level and procurement centres in villages would be given priority. AP occupies an important place in the fisheries and aqua-culture and we want to maintain the lead. Regarding employment generating programmes in the State, I am proud to announce that the Planning Commission had lauded our performance under MGNREGS in various fora. Under MGMRGS, it is proposed to create employment of 235 crore mandays at an estimated cost of Rs.43,303 crore, undertake repairs of 20,000 Minor irrigation tanks with an outlay of 3,000 Crores and 10,000 KMs of road with an outlay of Rs 1,400 crores during the 12th Five-year plan.

Our endeavour is to ensure convergence of different departments(7) and we are of the opinion that there is a need to redesign the MGNREG Scheme to accommodate the emerging needs. Integrated Watershed Management is also a focused area for us. I would like to bring forth an issue for the consideration of this august gathering. In the current scheme of things, works taken up under NREGS are seriously contending with the requirement of labour for various agricultural operations. As promotion of agriculture and the farmer’s interests is an equally important concern to us, it is necessary to link up NREGS with the Agriculture sector, by including some of the agricultural activities involving labour under the scheme. Andhra Pradesh is the only State to have implemented comprehensive Participatory irrigation management policy with 100% water tax ploughed back, whereby the operations and management of irrigation has become self sufficient.

Planning commission is studying the Regulatory Authority model of the State, which recognizes water as common property as opposed to entitlement model of Maharastra. We have undertaken two major irrigation projects i e Polavaram and Pranahita-Chevella. Polavaram project is not only multi-purpose providing irrigation, power and drinking water, but also benefits adjoining states of Maharastra, Karnataka, Chattisgarh and Orissa. Pranahita-Chevella project provides irrigation facility to 7 drought-hit districts, by using Godavari water that is otherwise going to the sea. In this view, both these projects are of national significance. Rs.12,396 crore is required for completion of 35 prioritized projects in coming 3 years, to create an additional IP of over 36.76 lakh acres in the state. This will support Food security and contributes higher allocations to Nation’s pool.

The share of Centre in all AIBP projects may be increased to 75%, which would speed up the projects. The State is planning to launch Tank Reliant Irrigation Area Development – TRIAD Project which is a feasible alternative is creating Minor Irrigation Sources- Tanks in identified areas/districts for the overall improvement of agriculture productivity and rural livelihoods. Under energy sector, APGENCO will target an additional capacity of 16,000 MW by 2016. TOD tariff, revision of tariff, free supply to ground water and separation of feeders are of priority to us.

Information Technology contributes to 49% of total exports from AP. The State occupies 4th position in India with a share of 15% of the national IT exports. We are planning to create additional direct employment under IT for 1.5 lakh by 2015. Construction sector continues to hold the key during 12th Plan also. Different industries would require about 8 million skilled persons. Employability of even professional graduates is a concern. Quality improvement is the focus.

We need to strengthen the cooperation between educational institutions and industry and business, by providing incentives for providing hands-on training to improve the skills of students. Under Industry sector, tourism has been one of the high priority, and also high performing, sectors in the state. Medical Tourism has been picking up in the state, especially Hyderabad. We want to create special schemes to promote Adventure Sports and Beach Tourism. Skill development is being accorded the highest priority. Rajiv Udyoga Sree has set the pace of employment generation and skill development in A P. The Strategy is in sync with Planning Commission Agenda of 500 million skilled population by 2022. As a part of the Mission ,the State skill development policy, Labour Market information Sytem and H R Planning Mechanism for twelfth Plan will be made ready in six months.

We want to assess and enlarge our experiment with skill upgradation under NREGS, to benefit over 2 lakh rural youth annually. The State is committed to improve Human Development in the State. Addressing the large stock of adult illiterates in the state is the key to achieve 100% literacy rate. There is a need for adult literacy programs targeting 15-59 years age illiterates. We want to squarely involve the SHGs in this movement, as they have a wide spread, influence and a strength of 1.1 crore members. The drop-out rate at Secondary Level during the year 2010-11 is 46.21. It has been planned to bring it down to zero by 2017 by fixing 8% target every year. Operationalization of PPP models in school education, Rating of colleges on performance and Internet-based skill up-gradation are our main concerns. Ensuring quality education at all levels including Universities, would be the goal during the 12th Plan period. The State has achieved substantial progress under various health parameters. However, certain health related issues still require focused attention.

These include: Ante-natal Care, Infant mortality, Maternal Mortality, anemia among women and Under- nutrition. Coordination of ICDS and Health departments for a common monitoring mechanism for vaccination and health related issues is being worked out. Strengthening of public sector primary health care centres especially in rural areas – physical infrastructure, equipment, medicine, and staffing are identified as crucial to health improvement. Providing Safe Drinking Water to all habitations will have to be accorded a special focus including the Fluoride-affected areas. About 56 % of the habitations are yet to reach the fully coverage status and about 42% of the populations has yet to be provided 40 lpd. Increasing number of quality-affected habitations is a major concern for the 12th plan. Construction of Individual Sanitary Latrines and Anganwadi toilets taken up on priority to achieve 100% rural sanitation. The unit cost has to be increased in tune with the market rates to speed up the program.

Under Urban Development the major areas of concern and priority during the 12th Plan would be Effective Local Urban Governance, Planned Formation of Urban Conglomeration, Improved Public Infrastructure, Integrated Slum Improvement, Urban Poverty Alleviation and Environmental sustainability. JNNURM addresses much of the infrastructure and service delivery needs in urban areas. Social Harmony & Welfare would be given due importance during the 12th Plan period. Scholarships and fees reimbursement to SC,ST,BC and Minority students continue to be our priority, with a focus on better targeting and efficinecy. GOI may seriously consider increasing the allocation for OBCs and EBCs to make the process of educational development more inclusive. Social Security Pensions would continue to be offered to old aged, widow, disabled, AIDS affected, toddy tappers. Development of Backward and Interior areas would be continued during the 12th Plan also.

Khammam & Adilabad districts have been included under Integrated Action Plan (IAP). 6 other districts are also required to be included under Left Wing Extremist affected areas. Last but not the least, we need to lay emphasis on improving governance significantly. The poverty can be eradicated faster if we improve the management systems. We need to lay emphasis on implementing the reforms recommended by the Administrative Reforms Commission at a faster pace. E-Governance has also to be given much more importance. Transparency, efficiency and effectiveness have to be the watchwords. At the end, I would like to make it explicit that the State is always committed to implement all the Developmental programmes that are useful to the larger section of the society, especially the under-privileged with a broad inclusive strategy during the 12th Plan period.

In fact under each of the important social sector parameters like enrolment, out of schooling, IMR, MMR, mal-nutrition, anemia among women and prevalence of HIV/AIDS etc., backward mandals are identified with a view to lay special focus in these areas and to make them on par with other developed mandals in the State. With the experience of a successful 11th Five Year Plan behind us and with the unstinted support of the Planning Commission from time to time in our development endeavours, I am sure Andhra Pradesh would continue be in the forefront.

Food inflation at a 2-month high of 9.01%

Press Trust of India, Updated: June 09, 2011 21:38 IST

New Delhi: Costlier fruits and onions pushed up food inflation to a two-month high of 9.01 per cent for the week ended May 28, but the Prime Minister’s chief economic advisor has expressed hope that the rate of price rise could moderate on the back of a good monsoon. 

Food inflation, as measured by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), was 8.06 per cent in the previous week. In the last week of May, 2010, it was as high as 20.62 per cent.

The last time when food inflation was above 9 per cent was for the week ended March 26, when it had stood at at 9.18 per cent.

As per data released by the government today, fruits became 30.78 per cent more expensive year-on-year, while onions were up by over 14 per cent.

In addition, milk prices went up by 8.49 per cent and egg, meat and fish became dearer by 6.99 per cent. Cereals also became costlier by 5.77 per cent on an annual basis. 

“If the monsoon is favourable, food prices will come down over the next 2-3 months,” Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council Chairman C Rangarajan said.

Other experts also expressed a similar opinion on the role of the monsoon.

“The progress of the monsoon will play a major part in determining the food inflation trajectory. If the monsoon is normal, we may well see a moderation in the rate of price rise of food items in the months to come,” Standard Chartered Head of Research Samiran Chakraborty said.

Following its arrival in Kerala in the last week of May, the monsoon has progressed till Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh and the forecast say it will gain momentum in next few days.

During the week under review, inflation of overall primary articles stood at 11.52 per cent, up from 10.87 per cent in the previous week. Primary articles have a weight of 20 per cent in the overall inflation basket.

However, inflation of non-food primary articles fell to 20.97 per cent from 21.31 per cent in the previous week.

“This (food inflation) is above the comfort level. Besides, commodity price fluctuations, particularly that of crude, continues to have an impact,” Deloitte, Haskins & Sells Director Anis Chakravarty said.

While agreeing with the PMEAC chief’s views on the monsoon, other experts pointed out that sustained high global commodity prices would put pressure on headline inflation, which has been above 8 per cent since January, 2010.

Headline inflation stood at 8.66 per cent in April. The RBI, in its monetary policy for 2011-12, had projected that overall inflation would average 9 per cent during the first half of this fiscal, before moderating to around 6 per cent by the end of the financial year.

It had cautioned about the high global commodity prices, mainly crude.

Rangarajan said he expects headline inflation to be around 6.5 per cent by March, 2012.

“Overall inflation will come down slowly by October-end. Once the monsoon picture becomes clear, I expect decline in prices. We could see WPI at 6.5 per cent by March-end,” he said.

Commenting on the issue, Crisil Chief Economist D K Joshi said: “Global commodity prices are still running high and is likely to continue exerting pressure on the headline inflation numbers. We expect RBI to hike rates by 25 basis points on June 16.”

 

Government’s response to Ramdev’s Demands

response to baba ramdev’s demands down load

Govt’s response as put up on the PIB home page. The very last paragraph is on Agriculture.

The govt is claiming that already many programmes are underway to promote organic farming, bio-pesticides and bio-fertilisers – they name RKVY, NPOP/NCOF, NHM amongst these. They claim that organic farming has reached 10.8 lakh hectares from 42000 hectares in 2004-05 because of all of this. “All these will be strengthened and expanded”.

On pricing support, the govt defends CACP and how things are based on cost data.

Cotton acreage may rise 5-10%

Rutam Vora / Ahmedabad Jun 04, 2011, 00:37

The country’s cotton acreage is expected to increase 5-10 per cent in 2011-12 from 11.16 million hectares in 2010-11. The rise is attributed to more farmers opting for the crop in the wake of record prices witnessed during the current cotton year (October to September).

 

This could be gauged from the fact that area under cotton in north India (Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana) for 2011-12 has witnessed a rise of 15-20 per cent so far. Sowing in these states is almost complete. The acreage in the states has increased by 200,000 hectares to 1.50-1.55 million hectares as on date, up from 1.35 million hectares in the previous year.

“The cotton sowing has almost come to an end in north India and we have seen a sharp increase in the acreage in Punjab. Rajasthan and Haryana, too, have seen some rise in acreage. Paddy and guar growing farmers have shifted to cotton, as it promised better returns,” said Rakesh Rathi, president, North India Cotton Association. North India contributes 12-13 per cent to the country’s total cotton output with annual production of 3.8-3.9 million bales (a bale is 170 kg).

Meanwhile, industry experts are expecting acreage to rise 5-10 per cent from 11.16 million hectares to around 15-18 million hectares for the year 2011-12.

“We see cotton acreage rising this year. Even after the recent volatility in prices, farmers are attracted towards cotton cultivation, mainly because they have reaped heavy returns over last year. However, it is too early to predict the exact acreage for 2011-12. But possibly the cotton area may rise 5-10 per cent from the last year’s 11.16 million hectares,” said B K Mishra, managing director, Cotton Corporation of India.

He added that prices had witnessed a sharp fall after hitting a peak in March this year.

Prices for the Shankar-6 quality of cotton had hit a peak of Rs 62,500 per candy (a candy = 356 kg) in March this year and dipped to Rs 45,000 per candy recently. In the international markets too, prices have seen sharp fluctuations from $ 2 per pound in March to $1.4-1.5 per pound recently.

India’s cotton acreage had increased by about eight per cent from 10.31 million hectares in 2009-10 to 11.16 million hectares in 2010-11.

In Gujarat, the area under cotton cultivation is expected to be 2.8 million hectares for the year 2011-12, against 2.63 million hectares in 2010-11.

“Farmers are excited about the returns that cotton has yielded. Like other parts of the country, Gujarat too will see a rise in acreage in the next season. The acreage in Gujarat for 2011-12 will rise to 2.8-3 million hectares,” said N M Sharma, managing director, Gujarat State Cooperative Cotton Federation.

Other key cotton growing states are Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and parts of Madhya Pradesh. The crop in this region is rain-fed and largely dependent on the extent of rainfall.

Cotton sowing in this region is expected to pick up from the second week of June onwards. As the south-west monsoon has already hit the southern part of the country and is expected to advance according to schedule, farmers have become hopeful for a successful cotton cultivation in 2011-12.

 

Gene alarm on GM crops

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1110603/jsp/nation/story_14065280.jsp

New Delhi, June 2: Indian scientists have discovered that the genetic modification of plants with a gene already used in crops worldwide may severely damage the plants, a surprising finding that may stir a debate on current crop biotechnology science.

The scientists at the University of Delhi have shown that inserting a bacterial gene that makes a protein named Cry1Ac into genomes of plants appears to cause developmental defects, growth retardation and sterility in the plants.

Several experimental and commercial genetically-modified plants, including GM cotton cultivated in India and other countries, make the Cry1Ac protein which is toxic to some insects. The insects die when they try to eat parts of these GM crops.

The Delhi scientists have now shown through laboratory experiments that modifying cotton or tobacco with Cry1Ac has a detrimental effect on these plants. Their results have appeared in the Journal of Bioscience published this month by the Indian Academy of Sciences.

“This is a completely unexpected finding,” said Durgadas Kasbekar, a senior biologist with the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad who was not associated with the study, but is the editor of the Journal of Bioscience.

“Until this point, if you asked someone in the plant biotechnology community what the Cry1Ac toxin does in plants, they would say it kills insects. No one has yet demonstrated harm to plants as this study has done,” Kasbekar told The Telegraph.

The Delhi researchers say such observations may have been overlooked in the past as most previous studies were aimed at finding plant varieties that can be genetically altered just enough so that they are suitable for cultivation.

Independent studies have earlier shown that levels of Cry1Ac in some commercial GM cotton decline progressively over the life-cycle of the plant and are produced at such low levels in vulnerable parts of the crop that insects can continue to consume them.

“We find a very strong correlation between the levels of Cry1Ac and abnormalities —higher the levels of Cry1Ac in the plants, the greater the damage,” said Pradeep Burma, a plant geneticist at the University of Delhi South Campus, who led the study.

Burma said these findings do not in any way suggest that GM crops are either unsafe for consumption or can cause damage to other crops or the environment. “But they reveal a previously unrecognised effect on GM plant development,” Burma said.

“It’s a hurdle we need to overcome to improve insect-resistance in crops,” he said.

The researchers have themselves shown that if the plants are modified in such a way that the Cry1Ac is confined in their chloroplasts – the site of photosynthesis in plant cells — they do not show any developmental defects.

“This could be a future strategy to protect plants from damage,” Burma said.

But scientists caution that the study describes observations and the mechanism of how the toxin harms host plants remains unclear. “We need to understand why the plants are being affected — and use that knowledge to make better plants,” Kasbekar said.

The Indian government had approved commercial cultivation of GM cotton containing Cry1Ac in 2002, and research groups have been trying to equip other plants with this protein. But a proposal to introduce GM brinjal with Cry1Ac has been stalled by the environment ministry amid concerns among sections of scientists and environmental activists about safety and environmental impact of edible GM crops.

Farmers demand rejection of Seeds Bill 2010

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/article2070533.ece

The Tiruchi district unit of the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, affiliated to the Communist Party of India (CPI), has urged the State government to reject the Seeds Bill 2010 and the Tamil Agricultural Council Act 2009.

In a representation to the district administration, the district secretary Ayilai Siva.Suriyan said that if the Seeds Bill 2010 were to be passed as law, farmers would be adversely affected as it would provide an opportunity for multinational companies to monopolise , production, distribution, and marketing of seeds in the country.

Farmers dependent on traditional seeds, preserved by them, would be put at the mercy of MNCs engaged in the business. Already MNCs were dominating the market, except in paddy and wheat seeds. Farmers would not be able to claim any compensation from private companies, if the seeds fail or result in reduced yields.

The Seeds Bill 2010 had several anti-farmer provisions. The price of seeds, which are now being sold at affordable rates through the National Seeds Corporation, would go up steeply if the Bill were to be implemented, Mr.Suriyan feared. He also pointed out that various other States have also expressed their opposition to the Bill.

Mr.Suriyan also urged the government to repeal the Tamil Nadu Agricultural Council Act 2009, which he said was also “anti-farmer.”

Government rolls out red carpet to pacify Baba Ramdev

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Rattled-government-s-VIP-welcome-to-placate-Baba-Ramdev/Article1-704637.aspx

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pulled out all the stops on Wednesday to persuade Baba Ramdev to abandon his indefinite fast from Saturday to demand an end to corruption and black money. But the yoga guru appeared in no mood to soften his stand. Singh took the unusual step of deputing four senior ministers — Pranab Mukherjee, Kapil Sibal, PK Bansal and Subodh Kant Sahay — as well as cabinet secretary KM Chandrashekhar to talk to Ramdev at the Delhi airport on his arrival from Ujjain in a chartered plane.
The gesture went beyond the niceties accorded to visiting heads of state and annoyed many party leaders who, however, did not want to be quoted.

The PM asked Sahay to cut short his foreign trip and use his personal equation with Ramdev to urge him to call off his agitation which, the government fears, could slip into the BJP-RSS’s hands. Sources said Ramdev, too, was keen that Sahay be roped in for the negotiations.

 

Although Ramdev is still planning to go ahead with his fast, sources hinted that the talks were moving in the right direction, with the government assuring him that it is taking a series of steps to unearth unaccounted wealth, which have started yielding results.

There were, however, discordant voices within the Congress over the developments. “Fasts cannot end corruption in the country,” said party general secretary Digvijaya Singh. Other party leaders, who were not willing to be quoted, appeared unhappy with the government’s overdrive to placate the yoga guru.

Ramdev, who earlier in the day did a volte-face on his statement that the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India should be kept out of the lokpal’s purview, also told reporters his first round of talks with the government was positive and the dialogue would continue.

“But we will not be satisfied with dialogue or assurances. There should be evidence of bringing back black money from tax havens,” Ramdev said after meeting the ministers.

“Till there is 100% agreement on all issues and a decisive stage is reached, the fast will go on,” Ramdev added. “It is a big war. We have to change the system of 64 years. It is not an easy task. But we will get it done.”

The government agreed that the yoga guru had raised serious national issues and a dialogue with him would continue over the next few days.

“He has raised important issues that impact the future of the country. We responded to them. We are running a responsive government,” Sibal said, without elaborating.

Maintaining that black money and corruption were two sides of the same coin, Ramdev said the main issues he raised with the government were a strong lokpal, a public service delivery guarantee act implemented in all states and setting up of fast-track courts to give judgments in one year with provisions for death sentence for the corrupt.

On a day of hectic consultations at multiple levels, Ramdev met representatives of Anna Hazare’s team on the joint drafting committee for the lokpal bill, and the Prime Minister had a stock-taking session at his 7, Race Course Road residence in the evening to discuss the implications of Ramdev’s fast.

The government’s efforts to dissuade Ramdev from launching his fast is intended to prevent a repeat of the Hazare-led civil society agitation that forced it to agree to form a joint drafting committee for a strong lokpal bill.