LG Sinha announces three new schemes for agriculture sector, panchayats, towns of J&K

Says future J&K will be a role model for the whole country in its agricultural practices
LG Manoj Sinha
LG Manoj Sinha

Jammu, Dec 21: Three new schemes, Holistic Development of Agriculture & Allied Sectors, Aspirational Towns Development Programme and Aspirational Panchayat Development Programme were announced by the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Wednesday, a government spokesperson said in a statement. 

The statement said that these projects have been approved by the Administrative Council, chaired by the LG. 

In July this year, the UT administration constituted an Apex Committee for holistic development of Agriculture & Allied Sectors for which leading luminaries were invited like Dr Mangala Rai Former DG ICAR, as its Chairman and Dr Ashok Dalwai, CEO NRAA apart from other well known figures in the field of Agriculture, Planning, Statistics & Administration. 

The committee working in a mission mode came with a comprehensive plan in the form of 29 projects covering all the sectors within the ambit of APD in a record time of 5 months. 

 "Having gone through the contents of the projects that have been cleared by the committee and their expected outputs and outcomes, I am confident that a new revolution in the agriculture and allied sectors of the UT is on the anvil. J&K is determined to move forward to touch new heights of success," Sinha was quoted saying.

The projects which have now been approved by the administrative council and having an outlay of Rs. 5013 crores over the next five years shall transform the agriculture economy of J&K putting it on a new trajectory of growth, doubling the output of the sectors, boosting exports and making the sectors sustainable & commercially viable. This will herald a new phase of farmer prosperity and rural livelihood security in J&K.

These twenty-nine projects will almost double the output of the sectors, boosting exports and making the sectors sustainable & commercially viable. These gains shall be equitable, reaching the last person in the pyramid and ecologically sustainable through efficient use of bio-resources for food, feed & industry. The agricultural output which stands at Rs 37600 crores shall increase by over Rs 28142 crores to reach more than Rs 65700 crores per year, with a resultant increment in sectoral growth rate to 11%. The interventions shall create employment opportunities for over 2.8 lakh youth and establish around 19,000 enterprises. More than 2.5 lakh persons shall be skilled in various agri-enterprises ranging from seed production, precision farming of vegetables, bee-rearing, cocoon production, mushroom farming, integrated & organic agriculture, high-density fruit farming to processing, dairying, sheep & poultry farming as well as fodder production. In the next five years the UT shall have a motivated workforce with agri-entrepreneurial skills in a commercially viable and ecologically sustainable agri-ecosystem.

 “I am sure that the J&K of the future will be a role model for the whole country in its agricultural practices and prosperous farming community," the Lt Governor said.

J&K UT is also rolling out “Aspirational Panchayat Development Programme (APDP)” in UT of J&K and to select the most backward 285 Panchayats (One Panchayat per Block) for their holistic development.

The spokesperson said that a total of 100 measurable indicators have been identified across 9 Sectors namely Agriculture & allied Activities (06 indicators), Health & Nutrition (11), Education (13), Rural Development & Sanitation (07), Beneficiary-Oriented Schemes (04), Skill Development (04), Basic Infrastructure (17), Environment (05) & Good Governance (33), which shall give insight of existing status and incremental progress over a period of time.

On the basis of importance of these sectors, weights shall be assigned to each sector and sub-indicators as per relevance in the life of rural population.

These Aspirational Panchayats shall be developed through convergence of various ongoing District / UT Schemes and Centrally Sponsored Schemes / Programmes. Additional financial assistance of Rs. 10 Lakh shall be provided to the selected Panchayats under the scheme for its further development after achieving saturation in the following parameters like Soil Health Cards, Land Pass Books, Kisan Credit Cards, Shram Cards issued to eligible Laborers, 100 percent Institutional Births,100 percent vaccination of children in the age group of 9-11 months, Zero Percent Out of School Children, 100 percent Solid Waste Collection & Treatment, Aadhaar Seeding with MGNREGA Cards, Issuance of Golden Cards under PMJAY SEHAT.

Some 285 most backward Panchayats shall be selected from 4291 Panchayats of UT of J&K (One Panchayat per Block), on the basis of least aggregate score obtained on the selected 100  parameters/indicators in the Panchayat Development Index in the concerned Block. The data shall be analyzed in PD&MD and most backward Panchayat in the Block shall be identified, the details of which shall be shared with all respective District Development Commissioners for their authentication.

The government said that J&K is rolling out “Aspirational Towns Development Programme” (ATDP), the Urban Reform Incentive Fund (URIF) to incentivize undertaking of reforms in Municipalities, and the Assessment Framework for rating various Municipalities.

The Jammu & Kashmir Municipal Development Index (J&K MDI) – 2022 is a tool to assess the development of Urban Local Bodies across the Union Territory of J&K against the normative development benchmarks. While J&K MDI will act as a guide to evidence-based policy making, catalyse action to achieve broader developmental outcomes, including the Sustainable Development Goals, assess and compare the outcomes achieved by municipal bodies, give citizens an insight into the functioning of local bodies and build a dialogue between the stakeholders, the URIF will provide necessary financial incentive to Municipalities to undertake reforms, in their journey of becoming Aspirational Towns.    

Since the 74th Amendment Act gave constitutional recognition to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) as the third tier of governance in 1993, municipalities have become pivotal to urban governance. It is therefore apparent that the development and governance of the cities is determined by the functioning of Municipalities. They are the key agents that provide the enablers into making a city ‘Smart, and Sustainable’.

The assessment framework examines the sectoral performance of Municipalities across a set of 7 verticals/pillars, namely Quality of Life and Services; Economic Ability; Technology; Urban Planning, Governance, Sustainability & Climate Resilience and Citizen Perception, which include 37 sectors/categories and 138 indicators. The Municipal Development Index will act as a guide to evidence-based policy making, catalyze action to achieve broader developmental outcomes including the Sustainable Development Goals, assess and compare the outcomes achieved by municipal bodies, give citizens an insight into the functioning of local bodies and hold them accountable.

Based on the performance of these Municipalities, as per the benchmarks prescribed under J&K MDI-2022, while best performing Municipalities will be encouraged and incentivized though additional grant-in-aid in the form of URIF (Urban Reform Incentive Fund), special funds will also be provided for building capacities and covering gaps in these Municipalities.

"It is our responsibility and resolve to ensure that the aspirations of the people get fulfilled,” the Lt Governor said.

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