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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Curtain-raiser: YSR's wishlist for PM's visit

The Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh who will be arriving in Hyderabad tonight for a whole day's working visit tomorrow on State-specific projects will review the achievement, plan and demands of various vital departments like Agriculture, Irrigation, Cooperatives, T R&B, Revenue, MA&UD etc. in two separate sessions.

The Chief Minister will utilise the opportunity to seek not only additional State-specific Central Assistance for Agriculture, Irrigation, infrastructure etc, but also to show-case achievement of Andhra Pradesh in Irrigation and various other sectors.

This is the first time that a Prime Minister visiting a State and spending a whole day discussing in depth all the specific issues and developmental issues. The Prime Minister will be accompanied by Union Agriculture Minister Mr Sharad Pawar, Union Finance Minister Mr Chidambaram, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Secretaries of the Union Ministries concerned and top Central Officials. Dr. Singh will have a high-level discussion with the Chief Minister Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, Ministers concerned, Advisers to the State Government, Chief Secretary and other top officials of the State Government.

First session of the Prime Minister's review meeting will start at 10.00 am at Jubilee Hall, will continue up to 1.00 p.m. The forenoon session will review Food Security, Agriculture Plan, Agriculture Extension, Cooperatives and Irrigation. The session will start with brief introductory speeches by the Prime Minister, Chief Minister and close with their concluding remarks. There will be a lunch break for two hours and the Chief Minister will host a lunch for the Prime Minister and the Central Team.

The Afternoon session will start at 3.00 p.m. and will continue up to 5.45 p.m. In this session the Prime Minister and team will review State-specific projects of Revenue, Energy, Infrastructure, OR Project, Urban Development, Industries, Road Transport, Panchayat Raj and Railways.

Government of India has selected Andhra Pradesh since the Prime Minister felt it is the most happening State and it is from here that he wants the country to take a kick off for fast development and boost agricultural production. He was particularly concerned about the food security and rice production in particular and Andhra Pradesh is the State which has the capability to take off, thanks to the massive irrigation facilities it has created and copious rains it has received consecutively for the last four years.

The Chief Minister held a special meeting to finalise the presentations and issues to be brought before the Prime Minister and the Central team.

The Chief Minister will take up irrigation as top priority to seek maximum assistance under the Special package, many proposed projects under AIBP and DPAP schemes. He will also explain to the Prime Minister the 12 lakh ayacut for which irrigation facilities are created under the Jalayagnam programme, show him the villages and projects through the help of a map, the areas to be covered under the numerous projects which are in full swing.

The Chief Minister will present before the Prime Minister a unique State Agricultural Plan integrating all the district plans ensuring baseline share of agriculture in its total state plan expenditure to get the new Additional Central Assistance. The State government is making all efforts to complete all projects under the AIBP. The State Government will also highlight the Seed Plan involving all institutions both private and public.

The Chief Minister will explain the major strategies for improving crop sector like stabilising the cropped area, bridging the yield gap, diversification, research support, improving credit delivery, rural infrastructure etc. In the agriculture sector, the State govt. will seek Central Assistance of Rs. 3258 crore. The State Govt. will also seek additional Central Assistance to the tune of Rs.1280.69 crore per annum and a total of Rs.5997.95 crore during the XI plan period for agriculture and allied sectors.

The State Government will undertake major expansion and revamping of State Agricultural Extension Systems. The State will also seek assistance to implement the Vaidyanathan Committee Report. The Chief Minister will explain to the Prime Minister development of modern markets and encouraging linkages by using cooperatives and contract farming etc.

The State will also present before the Prime Minister the State strategy for increasing Rice production and productivity and bringing in additional area under cultivation with the help of the massive irrigation systems being created. The State is also going for intensification --interventions at the farming level based on yield gap between the potential and the actual. Tools will be employed for introducing appropriate mechanical devices, critical inputs, compulsory green manuring etc. Special focus will be given on districts like North Coastal Andhra, where the gap is the highest with special attention to water management and drainage.

State strategy for increasing pulse production includes compulsory mixed-cropping with groundnut, maize, jowar; promoting deep-tillage practices through custom hiring centres, expanding in non-traditional areas (rice fallows, new command areas etc.) and promoting critical inputs like use of quality seeds.

The Prime Minister will be asked to clear the Indira Sagar (Polavaram) Indira Sagar Lift Irrigation, Rajiv Sagar (Dummugudem) Lift Irrigation scheme, Sripadasagar (Yellampally Barrage), Bhupatipalem, Komaram, Masurumilli, Peddavagu (Neelwai), Modikunta Vagu, Kalwakurthy Lift Irrigation Scheme (MGLI), Nettampadu Lift Irrigation (Jawahar LIS), projects in principle pending final clearance. He would also seek central assistance for construction of 2573.86 kms roads in the remote areas covering 18 districts costing Rs. 565.83 crores. The State will seek enhancement of refinance of NABARD from existing 40 to 75%.

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