Deputy Chief Minister, Chowna Mein attended the Conclave of Himalayan States on ‘Well being of the next generation of Himalayan people’ jointly hoisted by the Integrated Mountain Initiative, Himachal Pradesh Council for Science, Technology & Environment and Shoolini University at Shimla today.
Participating in the Conclave, Mein highlighted the potentials of Agriculture and issues faced by this Himalayan State similar to other mountain States in the Himalayan region. He advocated some policy interventions to redress these issues and requested the Organisers to place it before the Central Govt for implementation.
He sought for Separate planning process for mountain state by Ministry of Agriculture/Planning Commission and create a separate division to deal with agriculture planning, programming and implementation guidelines for these Mountain states.
He also proposed for Financial incentives/ separate budget allocation for agricultural growth based on Ecological-service saying that Mountain States are the major carbon sink in India due to huge area under forests cover.
He said, “Government of India or world bodies should give financial incentives to Mountain States based on forest cover maintained by each state for providing alternate livelihood to farmers in place of Shifting Cultivation so that the current area under forest could be maintained or enhanced further”.
He further advocated for Setting up of State Farmer’s Commission citing that agriculture situations in mountain states differ from mainland and each mountain State may have State Farmer’s Commission to make in dept analysis of deficiency in planning for agriculture development, gaps between resource availability and utilisation and mandated to recommended measures to address the identified issues.
He also sought for Agriculture Innovative fund saying, “a separate corpus fund may be created to take care of situation specific research and R&D intervention needed from time to time, local initiatives through Indigenous Traditional Knowledge, etc which is effective at addressing problems at local level, involving State’s own research organisations, KVK etc at district, block and village level to evolve strategies at micro-level”.
He suggested that such funds may be earmarked from funds allocated to Agriculture Research and Extension provided to ICAR.
He said, “if mountain agriculture is to develop, certain autonomy of planning and finance to mountain states as proposed may be a prudent policy decisions”.
Citing that connectivity and accessibility plays a major role in the economic development of the agri-allied sector and it needs an immediate attention in the State to provide market linkages. He said that the PMGSY roads play an important role in linking the rural villages and the farm land.
Stating that the State of Arunachal Pradesh have long networks of 6792.97 km length of PMGSY roads of worth Rs 6176.17 Crore that was constructed over the years but due to non-provision of maintenance fund for PMGSY roads by the Govt of India, maintenance of PMGSY roads is a big burden to the State like Arunachal Pradesh as we have to incur huge expenditure in the maintenance of State Highways and roads due to hilly terrains frequented with floods and landslides.
He requested the Govt of India to allocate Rs 60-70 Crore per annum for the maintenance of PMGSY roads in the State.
Speaking as one of the panelists on Hydro Power Projects in the Himalayan States, DCM said that the Arunachal Pradesh can provide the balancing power source if Govt of India favours some special dispensations for the various Hydro Power Projects being developed in the State. He further said that Development of Hydro power projects of Arunachal Pradesh of around 47000 MW allotted projects will contribute significantly in achieving India’s commitment for 33-35% reduction in carbon emission by 2030 and will help in to meet the target to raise the share of zero carbon emission electricity generating capacity to 40% of the total by 2030.
He said that to harness the 58,160 MW power potential of the State which constitutes 39% of the total Hydro power potential assessed in the country, necessary changes in the Energy Policy of Govt of India are need of the hour and earnestly requested the forum to include in their road map and urged to pursue it through NITI AAYOG. He suggested 11 points to be proposed to the Central Govt.
Union Minister of Agriculture, Radha Mohan Singh, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Trivendra Singh Rawat, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jai Ram Thakur, Union Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju also spoke on the occasion besides Ministers and MPs from the Himalayan States.