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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Political: AP’s inter-regional gaps worry PM

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh today expressed concern over the large inter-regional gaps in agricultural productivity and the high-level review meeting he chaired adopted an ‘Andhra Pradesh Resolution’ to give agriculture a four per cent growth.

This is the first time that a Prime Minister reviewed state subjects in a state capital. Over the next few weeks he would visit Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Bihar. The resolution focussed on launching the National Food Security Mission in AP, increase expenditure in agriculture, improve post-harvest management infrastructure and accord highest priority to seed production.

“There are large inter-regional gaps in yield and productivity. South Telangana is the most backward with a high yield gap. There is a need to bridge this gap. Similarly, north coastal Andhra, which has a relatively high rainfall, has low yields in rice and sugarcane. The comparison with the delta area is quite stark. North Telangana exhibits poor performance in cotton and jowar,” Dr Singh said.

Dr Singh lauded the state government for its emphasis on irrigation projects. Despite this 40 per cent of the state would continue to be rain fed and this should not be ignored, he said.

Meanwhile, chief minister Dr YS Rajashekar Reddy sought Rs 3,260 cr of Central assistance for agriculture. In addition, he sought a Central assistance of Rs 1,280 crore per annum and Rs 6,000 crore during the XI Plan period. Dr Reddy presented a state agriculture plan detailing individual district plans to underscore his point. The resolution said it would post for World Bank approval the public-private partnership initiatives in terminal marketing complexes at Hyderabad, Tirupati and Visakhapatnam in September 2007 and achieve financial closure by March 2008.

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