Odisha: Chief Secretary emphasizes on comprehensive insurance & strategic subsidy policies

Deliberations were made on thematic areas of Agriculture Budget for coming financial year 2016-17 in a high level meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Sri Aditya Parsad Padhi in Secretariat conference hall on Monday wherein Development Commissioner and Additional Chief Secretary Finance Sri R. Balakrishnan outlined the issues for discussion. Considering the suggestions put forth by the experts and concerned departments, Chief Secretary advised the Agriculture department to prepare a thematic based budget for the coming financial year with the target of maximizing the outcomes through convergence of various schemes at ground level.

Chief Secretary Sri Padhi further directed to develop a comprehensive crop insurance policy for both the loanee and non-loanee farmers. He focused on reducing the time gap for disbursal of compensatory assistance by the insurance companies to the farmers. Chief Secretary also advised to rationalize the subsidy and incentive structures to maximize the outcome and enhance the productivity in each of the sectors like paddy and non-paddy farming, fishery, animal husbandry, horticulture etc. Marketing of the agricultural products also figured in the meeting.

Development Commissioner Sri Balakrishnan emphasized on development of an institutional structure for convergence of various departments at service delivery level. He also directed the finance department to consolidate the suggestions relating to agricultural sector as put forth by members of the public, civil society, advocacy groups and stakeholders through ‘open budge initiative’ started this year. It was decided that the Agriculture department would do due diligence of these suggestions while preparing the draft budget.

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The Principal Secretary Sri Pradeep Kumar Jena also presented the issues relating to maximum utilization of the irrigation potential created through various schemes. It was decided to develop a comprehensive programme for maximum use of the irrigation water through a convergence approach between agriculture and water resource and cooperation departments.

Available data shows that Govt of Odisha started a separate Agriculture Budget from the year, 2013-14. Over last three years there has been constant increase in the budgetary allocation in this sector. It has been substantially enhanced from Rs.7,161.87 cr in 2013 to Rs.10,903.61 cr in 2015-16. In the year 2013-14, around 27.26% ( Rs.7161.84 cr in absolute terms)  enhanced budgetary provisions were made in the separate agriculture budget in comparison to the agricultural allocations that were made in the general budget year before. This increased to Rs.8,060.70 cr in the year 2014-15 with an increase of 12.55%.  In the 3rd subsequent year i.e.2014-15 the agriculture budget was further enhanced to Rs.10,903.61 cr with a marked increase of 14.27%.

The Principal Secretary Agriculture and Cooperation Sri Manoj Ahuja, Principal Secretary Energy Sri Rajesh Verma, Principal Secretary Water Resources Sri P.K. Jena, Secretary Fisheries & Animal Husbandry Sri Bishnupada Sethi, Additional Secretary Finance Sri Debendra Kumar Jena , Budget Officer, Finance Sri Satyapriya Ratha, Experts from Nabakrushna Choudhury Institute of Rural Development , OUAT along with senior officers from respective departments participated in the deliberations.

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