Friday, 23 March 2012

Economic survey exposes agriculture crisis in state-TIMES OF INDIA

Economic survey exposes agriculture crisis in state-TIMES OF INDIA
NAGPUR: For the first time, the state government has officially admitted of an agrarian crisis in its Economic Survey for 2011-12 by reporting that there was negative growth by over 5 percentage points in agriculture. The de-growth in farm sector along with rising debts and dip in state gross domestic product (GPD) below the national GDP presents a dismal economic picture.

Farm activist and Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti president Kishore Tiwari, said, it is evident that the agriculture de-growth in the state is dragging the state's economy down. The external borrowing of the government is expected to increase to 2,26,926 crore in 2011-12. In 2004-05, the total public debt was 1,09,167 crore but by 2010-11 it increased to 2,05,689 crore. The fall in the state's GDP is steeper than the country's. While the country's GDP (advance estimates) has come down by 1.5 percentage points to 6.9 % in FY2011-12, in the state it has fallen (as per projections) by 2.80 percentage points to 8.5 %.

"This is a gloomy situation. Massive corruption and malfunctioning in the state are mainly responsible for this economic crisis," said Tiwari. "If the situation is not brought under control with urgency the sufferings of 7 million debt-trapped farmers could worsen. The negative growth will spread to urban areas and distress will deepen," warned Tiwari.

As per survey it is reported that in FY 2011-12, agriculture and allied activities has shown a negative growth of 5.1% (against a growth of 15.6 % in FY2010-11), industry and services have grown at a slower rate of 9.1 % (10.8%) and 10.1% (11%) respectively. The report pointed out that production of foodgrains in 2011-12 is expected to register a decrease of 23 % at 118.09 lakh tonnes as against 154.19 lakh tonnes last year. Production of oilseeds and cotton (lint) are also expected to decrease by 8% and 15% respectively.

"The reason given by the government for retardation of agriculture growth is the late arrival of monsoon in Vidarbha and Marathwada and its erratic nature. But in reality, it is the wrong policies promoted by state and total neglect of dry-land farmers who were growing rain-sensitive crop like Bt cotton. The state should promote sustainable crop patterns, Tiwari said.

"While foodgrain yields have dropped by alarming levels, there is a jump by 200% in consumption of grains by alcohol units allowed to use foodgrains for brewing in the state," he said.

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