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Lack of sufficient proposals from NE ails fund utilization

FOOD PROCESSING

In this year’s budget, an amount of Rs 131.30 crore has been allocated to the northeastern region under the Ministry of Food Processing under the Central policy

Staff Reporter
Guwahati, April 1: The Standing Committee on Agriculture Branch (2017-18), whose report was submitted to the Lok Sabha on March 6, has “unhappily” noted that out of the total allocated Rs 63.38 crore to the Union Ministry of Food Processing for the northeastern States in the fincial year 2017-18, the actual allocation up to October 31, 2017 was Rs 21.01 crore only due to “non-availability of good projects on large scale”.
The committee said it desires that efforts should be made for proper utilization of funds in the northeastern States and reasons should be found out for non-availability of projects in the region, adding the Ministry of Food Processing should take the opinion of experts and send a fact-finding team to the Northeast to find out solutions to the problem of non-availability of projects. It recommended that the ministry should identify the areas in the Northeast for availability of various products and exploit their potential.
An amount equal to 10 per cent of the Union budget estimate for schemes is allocated for the northeastern States under the Ministry of Food Processing in accordance with the Central government’s policy. In this year’s budget, an amount of Rs 131.30 crore has been allocated to the northeastern region under the Ministry of Food Processing under the Central policy.
According to the report, the ministry continues to undertake awareness programmes in the Northeast for various schemes under the ministry. The non-utilized amount from the share of the northeastern States, if any, will get transferred to the Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) that will be utilized by the Ministry of Development of North East Region (DoNER) for sanctioning projects in the region.
According to the ministry, the food-processing sector “has been identified as one of the priority sectors under the Make in India initiative”, which is an initiative of Prime Minister rendra Modi.
The report said the repeated shortfall in the Northeast in the matter of fund utilization “has been mainly due to non-receipt of sufficient proposals” from the northeastern region.

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Ankur Kalita