Maharashtra hikes agri allocation in 11th plan

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New Delhi, Dec 19 (UNI) Hit by over a thousand suicides by farmers in Vidarbha region in the last four years over unabated distress, industrially forward-looking Maharashtra has decided to pay special attention to the agriculture and allied services by increasing its allocation to eight per cent in the Rs 1,27,538 crore 11th plan. It was 6.38 per cent of the 10th plan size of Rs 66,632 crore.

Disclosing this at the 54th meeting of the National Development Council(NDC) here today, chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said nearly 60 per cent of the state population is dependent on agriculture and allied activities but it contributed only 13 per cent to the state gross domestic product in 2006-07, down from 31 per cent in 1960-61.

Thanking the Prime Minister for increasing the gross budgetary support to agriculture and irrigation to 8.55 per cent in the 11th plan from 6.22 per cent in the 10th plan, he urged the Union government to launch an affordable agricultural insurance scheme for the farmers.

While stating that his government has decided to give four per cent interest relief to farmers on loans upto Rs 25,000 and two per cent on loans beyond this but upto Rs three lakh, Mr Deshmukh urged the Central government to implement recommendations of the Radhakrishnan committee report on rural indebtedness to provide relief to the distressed farming community.

Defending higher allocation for agri and allied sector, he said though 42 per cent of Maharashtra's population live in urban areas yet some of these areas are dependent on agriculture and allied services for livelihood. Secondly, 80 per cent of agricultural land is rain-fed and more than half is in the drought-prone zone. These factors, he added, are responsible for lower growth in primary sector.

UNI

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