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When it comes to utilization, NE is a failing laggard as usual

GUWAHATI, May 29: The northeastern States have failed in timely submission of utilization certificates of funds that the Centre released in recent years to implement various agri-horticulture schemes in the region.
Such disturbing development came to light during a review meeting of the agri-horticulture sector in five NE States – Assam, Sikkim, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya – held in the city on Monday. It was chaired by Union minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

Sources said while Meghalaya has not yet furnished utilization certificates for funds released to it under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) in 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18, the mission’s progress in Nagaland during 2015-16 was not satisfactory and many utilization certificates were pending.

Assam is yet to submit utilization certificates under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana for Rs 136.39 crore released in 2017-18, Rs 35.84 crore released in 2016-17 and Rs 61 lakh released in 2015-16.

Neerja Adidam, Joint Secretary, Integrated Nutrient Management, DAC&FW, who attended the review meeting, said even though one year of the second cycle of the soil health card scheme has ended, there has been little progress of the scheme in NE States. The second cycle will end in May 2019.

In the first year of the second cycle, 49,968 cards were distributed against a target of 7,70,484 in Assam, 50,670 cards were distributed against a target of 1,04,781 in Meghalaya, 38,000 cards were distributed against a target of 92,399 in Nagaland, and only 54 cards were distributed against a target of 54,649 in Arunachal Pradesh.

On the other hand, even two years after the online platform e-NAM (National Agriculture Market) was launched, the NE States are yet to be linked to the electronic trading portal which aims at helping farmers with better price discovery and provide facilities for smooth marketing of their produce. One crore farmers and one lakh traders in 17 States have already been linked to the platform so far, but none from the NE States.

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Ankur Kalita

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