States fail to push Centre's tree plantation on farmland scheme
New Delhi: With states showing no interest in implementing sub-mission on agroforestry, a Centrally-sponsored scheme, it seems the efforts of the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to double farmers' income may go down the drain.
According to the latest report, which was analysed by the Millennium Post, it has come to the notice that BJP-ruled states have given a thumbs down to sub-mission on agroforestry, which was launched in 2016-17 to encourage tree plantation on farmland with the tagline har medh par ped.
The scheme was started with the objective to double to income of farmers as well as balancing the ecological balance. As per the report, most of the BJP-ruled states have failed to use even a single penny of the fund released from the Centre. The fund released under the scheme to states ranges from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 750 lakh.
According to the report, which has details of the funds till March 31, 2018, total funds released by the Centre for the year 2016-17 and 2017-18 to all the states amount to Rs 6,518.41 lakh and out of which only Rs 861.14 lakh (just 13 per cent) has been utilised by the states to encourage tree plantation on farmland.
In the launch year, the scheme registered a good start as out of the total released fund of Rs 2,252 lakh in 2016-17, states utilised Rs 800 lakh (35 per cent) for planting trees, while Rs 1,451 lakh remained unspent.
The implementation of the scheme witnessed a total failure in 2017-18 as out of the total released fund of Rs 4,266.41 lakh, states spent just 1.4 per cent of it, which amounts to Rs 60.71 lakh, while Rs 4,205.70 lakh is still lying with states.
Some of the states that failed to utilise even a single penny of the released fund include Meghalaya (Rs 100 lakh), Mizoram, (Rs 50 lakh), Andhra Pradesh (Rs 315 lakh), Bihar (Rs 300 lakh), Chhattisgarh (Rs 250 lakh), Haryana (Rs 175 lakh), Jharkhand (Rs 400 lakh), Jammu & Kashmir ( Rs 60.71 lakh), Kerala (Rs 206 lakh), Madhya Pradesh (Rs 420 lakh), Maharashtra (Rs 400 lakh), Rajasthan (Rs 600 lakh), Uttar Pradesh (Rs 600 lakh), Tamil Nadu (Rs 250 lakh), Odisha (400 lakh) etc.
Gujarat is the only state that has spent maximum of its fund under the scheme as the home state of the Prime Minister has utilised Rs 308.95 lakh (42 per cent) of the total Rs 720 lakh released in year 2016-17 and 2017-18, while Karnataka has utilised Rs 289.83 lakh (37 per cent) out of Rs 775 lakh fund released by the Centre
and Punjab managed to utilise Rs 121.7 lakh out of Rs 200 lakh.
Notably, the government had approved the implementation of sub-mission on agroforestry (SMAF) under the ambit of National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA).
Agroforestry not only provides environmental services but also economic gains, as about 65 per cent of the country's timber requirement is met from the trees grown outside forests.