Bhubaneswar: The state is looking at better days ahead in agriculture having witnessed growth that has been more consistent than several other states in the country.
Making the assertion at a state level workshop organised by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) after inaugurating it here Friday, Shashi Bhusan Behera, Minister, Finance and Excise, stressed on rural infrastructure as development of agriculture depended on it.
The workshop was organised to sensitise the state government’s implementing departments about various aspects of loans under Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF).
Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Principal Secretary, State Finance Department, senior officials from various state government departments and other dignitaries participated in the workshop.
The minister said development of agriculture on which more than 75 per cent of the people of the state depend was directly linked to rural infrastructure. Rural infrastructure investment helps to raise the socio-economic status of the rural people through higher income levels and improved quality of life.
Mentioning the recent best administrator award to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Odisha being No 1 in the country in terms of RIDF loans, Behera said, “we should always try to be No 1.”
Praising NABARD, he said through its support the state government had excelled in quality and project implementation among other things.
Drawing a comparison between Odisha and other states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat and Punjab among others, the minister said the growth of agriculture in the state was more consistent and it would get better in times to come. He urged upon the implementing departments and NABARD to work in close coordination so that Odisha will continue to get optimum benefit.
In his message on the workshop, Tuhin Kanta Pandey said due to RIDF and effective project appraisal by NABARD the execution of projects has become better. He said RIDF is the cheapest fund for the state government and any amount of assistance is welcome.
KC Panigrahi, CGM, Odisha Regional Office, in his keynote address, elaborated on the 36 eligible activities of RIDF and highlighted its achievements in the last few years in the state. He apprised the participants that NABARD targets to sanction around Rs 2500 crore to the state government towards rural infrastructure development during the current financial year.
He said Odisha being the No 1 state in India for loans sanctioned under RIDF, it’s important to maintain the position. He thanked the Planning and Convergence Department, Finance Department and all the implementing departments of the state for the cooperation extended towards execution of RIDF projects in the state.