To give a big thrust to improve the farm productivity in Punjab, the State has given its clear mandate to Punjab Agriculture University, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) and other premier educational institute to focus on research basedp projects. This was discussed at a State Level Sanctioning Committee meeting of Rashtrya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) chaired by Sarvesh Kaushal, Chief Secretary, Punjab.The main objectives of this scheme are to incentivize the State so as to increase the public investment in agriculture and allied sectors; to provide flexibility and autonomies to the states in the process of planning and executing agriculture and allied sector scheme. The main components of the scheme include production growth and Infrastructure assets developments.During the review meeting, agriculture and allied sector projects worth Rs. 440 crore related to Agriculture and allied sectors were discussed in detail. It was informed that for the financial year 2014-15 Rs. 413.71 crore has already been released to the nodal departments and implementing agencies for the implementation of approved projects under RKVY and its sub-schemes. The physical progress of the projects was reviewed in detail by the Chief Secretary. Chief Secretary directed the officials of Agriculture department to immediately send utilization certificates of previous years to Government of India to avoid any obstacle to the funds meant for next financial year.
The project proposal namely “establishment of two Skill Development Centres at Punjab Agriculture University and Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University were approved an outlay of Rs. 33.55 crore. Chief Secretary stressed that the ongoing schemes should be given preference under this scheme so that the projects of the previous years may be completed on time.While discussing the projects of Agriculture Department, Chief Secretary emphasized to provide quality seeds to the farmers. For this purpose seeds already certified by the seed certification authorities of the state would again be tested in hi-tech labs in Agriculture University, Ludhiana. He also stressed on targeted research for the minor crops namely pulses and oilseeds to replace the area from paddy crop to these minor crops.The Chief Secretary, however, emphasised on the need of better coordination between the Universities and the Departments so that better results could be derived in the larger interests of the farmers.The Department of Agriculture was asked to include projects focusing on organic farming under this scheme so that organic farming can be given big thrust in the State. The key projects of Agriculture department which were considered included project for improving wheat crop productivity, efficient distribution of fertilizers in the State, efficient use of irrigation water, efficient utilization of nitrogenous fertilizers, technology to check straw burning etc.
Chief Secretary also stressed that improvement in the usage of bio fertilizers among the farmers was essential to prevent any long term health hazards to the people.A Project on Specialised Storage Structure Systems for Organic Produce Projects worth Rs. 90 crore was also approved besides other key projects included development of modern seed storage facilities, mechanization of sugar harvesting, breeding for high performance hybrids of maize, establishment of tissue culture unit etc. Chief Secretary assured VC, PAU that funds for these projects shall be provided on priority and PAU should effectively utilize the funds for improvement of overall Agriculture and allied sectors of the State. Further the projects worth Rs. 95 crore were considered for GADVASU for various projects focusing on milk production, improvement in reproductive performance, novel preservation methods for eggs and meat, nutritional strategies for livestock etc.Concluding the meeting, Chief Secretary asked the Department of Agriculture to immediately prioritize the projects considered during the meeting and send the updated proposal to Government of India so that funds can be received on time.The officers present in the meeting included Dr. N.S.Kalsi, Additional Chief Secretary Development, Dr. A.J.V.Prasad Joint Secretary Animal Husbandry GOI, Ms. A Neeraja Joint Secretary RKVY GOI, Mr. Mandeep Singh Sandhu, Financial Commissioner Animal Husbandry , Mr. A Veenu Prasad, Principal Secretary Power, Mr. Sukhvinder Singh Special Secretary Finance besides senior officers from the Universities and other departments concerned.