JK’s next big growth story is happening in rural areas: Lt Guv
JAMMU: Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha Thursday stressed the need to strengthen rural economy in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Our next big growth story is happening in rural JK. We need inter-sectoral coordination to improve infrastructure, empowerment of women and employment generation, and NABARD has vital role to play in this endeavour,” the Lt Guv said while unveiling Rs. 34,829 crore Potential Linked Credit Plan of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for J&K UT.
“Agriculture & allied sector sustains over 70% of our population. NABARD & J&K’s Agriculture Department have jointly planned a development package of Rs 25,991 crore for the sector,” announces the Lt Governor.
“The Development package will improve agricultural inputs, farmers’ income through easy availability of credit, technical up-gradation of agriculture and entire Agriculture & Horticulture production chain,” he said.
The package focuses on meeting the aspirations of rural population, bridging gaps in rural infrastructure and strengthening the co-operative credit systems to transform the agricultural economy.
The credit plan was announced at the ‘UT Credit and Development Seminar’ organized by NABARD in Jammu for presenting the ‘UT Focus Paper 2022-23′ for J&K, covering physical and financial potential under Agriculture & Allied activities and other priority sectors including the off-farm sector activities in the UT.
Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor underlined the need to focus on the development of rural economy for unlocking its full potential by filling the gaps vis-à-vis infrastructure, human resources and financing.
It was informed that in J&K, NABARD has been a vital driver of the rural economy by meeting the basic needs of infrastructure under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund, where under 4178 projects have been completed in the last 26 years at a cost of Rs 8457 crores, focusing mainly on irrigation and rural connectivity.
Highlighting that Agriculture & Allied sector sustains over 70% of our population, the Lt Governor also announced that NABARD and J&K’s Agriculture Department have jointly planned a development package of Rs 25,991 crore to improve agricultural inputs, farmers’ income through easy availability of credit, technical up-gradation of agriculture and entire agriculture & horticulture production chain.
The Lt Governor noted that this comprehensive plan was in line with the vision of the Hon’ble Prime Minister to double the farmers’ income. ‘In J&K, 36 Farmer Producer Organizations have been formed by NABARD which are benefiting about 6,000 farmers and 26 more such organizations will be formed in this financial year, decisively advancing the development of a strong base of modern agriculture and horticulture in the UT’, he added.
The Lt Governor expressed hope that NABARD will work closely with the UT administration in bringing self-reliance and efficiency in the Agriculture & allied sector. He noted that this year, the UT’s Agriculture department is distributing new high yield variety of seeds to about 9 lakh farmers, besides targeting to link more than 33,000 farmers with farm mechanization.
On the occasion, the Lt Governor appreciated the role of NABARD in organizing and nurturing Self Help Groups engaged in creating employment opportunities and empowering women and marginalized sections of the rural population.
The Lt Governor also urged the officials of NABARD to collaborate with Jammu Kashmir Rural Livelihood Mission, and in a planned manner, devise the expansion of already established 56,000 Self Help Groups under its UMEED programme, which presently connects around five lakh women. He said the expansion will open up new horizons for them and in turn boost their economic potential.
A. K. Sood, CGM, NABARD welcomed the participants and highlighted the contribution of NABARD in J&K. Sh. Surender Singh, General Manager, NABARD, presented the vote of thanks.
Various products of NABARD supported Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), Off-Farm Producer Organization (OFPO) and SHGs were also demonstrated at the venue. Handloom and handicrafts from NABARD supported Rural Marts in Kashmir, Honey and Walnut from Ramban, Mushroom from Kathua, Mushqbudji rice from Anantnag, SHG products from Samba etc. were displayed at the stalls.
Kamal P Patnaik, Regional Director, RBI; Baldev Prakash, Convenor UTLBC/ MD & CEO J&K Bank; Doifode Sagar Dattatray, Director, Animal Husbandry Department; Krishan Lal, Director Sheep Husbandry, Jammu, besides senior officers of UT administration, bank officers, members of SHGs, NGOs were present on the occasion.