Previous Study does not back Bihar chief minister's " success story"
Patna: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and the planning commission ( now Niti Aayog) are not on the same page as far as the growth in agriculture sector is concerned. The former claimed here on Friday that the state has made a rapid progress in this sector since 2008 but a previous study has told a different tale.
The study made by the commission in its report entitled, Bihar's Agriculture Development: Opportunity and Challenges, has concluded that the state had five or six per cent growth potential but it had grown at a " snail's pace" till 2012, the year review was made.
In its opinion the state had not learnt many lessons from other states."The most important lesson for Bihar is to capitalize on strength and convert weakness into opportunity through creation of infrastructure, adoption of technologies, strengthening of research, agricultural education and market orientation and agricultural enterprises. Success story of other states could also be tried as mode".
" Crux of the matter is that Bihar has the potentialities of being the forerunner of the Second Green Revolution. But the policy of ‘business as usual’ will not do. The state has to make efforts on a war footing, intensify their activity and implement the programmes at the ground level.", the study had suggested.
Lately, he has blamed the BJP government for agrarian unrest and most of other agitations in the country and accused it of presenting a distorted picture, but going through the report it appears that he has not covered himself with glory either.
His assessment has run counter to the assessment by the commission. "In the light of the success achieved in 2008- 2013 period, his government has prepared another road-map for growth in the agriculture sector in 20017-22 period", he has been quoted by a news agency as saying. But the study made by the commission's task force in the penultimate year of his first five- year plan for the agriculture sector has found the scenario completely different.
" The productivity level in Bihar, in comparison to other states of the country, was low. There was a huge gap between the level achieved by this and other states", the report has observed. Production of Maize, gram and sunflower has been better than the all-India average but only a small area was covered by these crops, the report has moaned.
Nitish has further claimed that unlike the BJP-ruled states farmers have been his " priority" since a decade. Agitation in these states is by-products of lop-sided farm policy pursued by them which led to lower growth and lower prices , according to him. Figures for other states are not available but he is wrong as far as the growth rate in Madhya Pradesh is concerned. The state has received four awards, for doing excellent work in agriculture, which is a record.
In coverage under crops the state has gone much better than others. He can take some credit for it. The coverage is 60 per cent of the total geographical area against 42 per cent average in the country. His suggestion to increase minimum support price to improve farmers' earning is also welcome.
His opposition to Genetically Modified seeds, however, may not please agriculture scientists, though it may make some Rashtriya Swayamseval Sangh ideologues happy.