One year into office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on his way to fulfill one of his key promises made to people of the North-East – an Organic Farming Mission to promote organic farming.
Union Minister for Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER) Jitendra Singh announced this at a press conference here.
It was in 2014 that Modi laid out his agenda for development of the North-East. Declaring the region as country’s organic hub, he promised to start a special initiative to promote organic cultivation in the region. “We are launching the flagship North-East Organic farming mission, Our prime minister and our government has been able to keep its promise to the people of Northeast India and within a year we have delivered” Singh said.
The Centre has allocated Rs 125 crore for the mission spanning all the North-Eastern states, including Sikkim, which is on its way to become the first fully organic state in the country by the end of 2015.
DoNER sources said the prime minister has taken keen interest in finalising the project, based on the model from his home state Gujarat. “The mission will be modelled after the Anand milk revolution. We want to follow the Amul model for organic farming in the North-East and also brand the product and find suitable market in the neighbouring countries to begin with. This will also be in line with our Act East Policy” the Union minister added. The Centre would soon fix a deadline for the implementation of the mission.
A Detailed Project Report (DPR) has been sent out to ministries and each of the eight state governments in the North-East for their response. The DoNER ministry will be the implementing agency for the project through the respective state governments. For the first phase, two products have been chosen – cardamom and fruit. On the issue of organic produce certification and market linkage, Singh told Deccan Herald that New Delhi is in consultation with other agencies to formulate a policy for the mission. The Centre has also sanctioned a project worth Rs 200 crore for Assam where the priority has been given to project chosen by the state government. The DoNER ministry has received 200 proposals for new development projects from different parts of the Northeast and they are under consideration.
On the direction of Modi, the DoNER ministry is also organising camp secretariat for a week in each state of the North-East in order to reach out to the people. The prime minister has also asked at least eight Union ministers to travel across the North-Eastern states every month. “No government and no prime minister took such initiatives before. Out thrust this year will be to improve both air and surface connectivity in Northeast. We are mooting an idea of a separate road transport corporation for the region as well,” Singh added.