Niti Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar addresses a press conference after the fifth meeting of the Governing Council of the NITI Aayog, in New Delhi on Saturday (PTI)
Niti Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar addresses a press conference after the fifth meeting of the Governing Council of the NITI Aayog, in New Delhi on Saturday (PTI)

Niti Aayog sets up task force to brainstorm on agriculture reforms

  • The task force will include state chief ministers and central ministers. The timeframe for making recommendations will be announced shortly
  • The task force will examine ways of improving productivity in farming and the changes needed in legislation

New Delhi: Federal policy think tank Niti Aayog, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Saturday decided to set up a task force of state chief ministers and central ministers to prepare a blueprint for structural reforms in agriculture, vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar said during a briefing. The members of the task force and the timeframe for making recommendations will be announced shortly.

At the meeting of the Niti Aayog's Governing Council, states sought central government assistance for tackling drought situation, improving logistics for exports and support for tackling problems related to their local economy. Kumar said the task force being set up will examine ways of improving productivity in farming and the changes needed in legislation.

Central ministers and state chief ministers also discussed ways of boosting manufacturing activities and exports to realise the goal of the Indian economy expanding to $5 trillion by 2024. At the beginning of the meeting, Modi had urged all states to work together to tackle socio-economic problems and to make India a $5 trillion economy by 2024, which he said was a "challenging, but achievable" goal.

"We cannot be a $5 trillion economy unless states become champions in manufacturing and exports," Niti Aayog chief executive officer Amitabh Kant said.

Rajiv Kumar said India's potential to make gains in the global market should be tapped. "Given what is going on in the global economy today, this is the time we should make the effort to benefit from the gaps emerging in the supply chain in global markets."

Kumar also said the Centre will find the contribution of state chief ministers in the Council meeting useful for the Union Budget for FY20, which will be presented in the first week of July.

The Council also discussed ways of accelerating developments of the J&K economy. Mining states such as Goa brought the attention of central ministers to their declining mining output. North Eastern states sought logistics support for exporting to other Asian economies. Punjab chief minister Capt. Amarinder Singh, who could not attend the meeting as he was indisposed, circulated his speech at the meeting, seeking the Central government's support for tackling the water crisis. Singh sought a one-time debt waiver to mitigate the distress of indebted farmers and double the annual assistance under the PM-KISAN scheme to 12,000 for farmers. He also sought inclusion of farm workers under this scheme.

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