|National Livestock Mission under acute financial stress in State|
GUWAHATI, Sept 15 - At a time when the State Agriculture Minister is trying to popularise the slogan ‘Potharo Amar Bojaro Amar’ to attract the new generation to the agriculture and livestock sectors, the National Livestock Mission (NLM), Assam, is reeling under an acute financial crisis in the State.
According to a source, for the financial year 2020-21, the NLM Assam had sent a proposal in February this year seeking Rs 41 crore from the Centre through the State government to implement various schemes under the livestock sector. But, till date, the Central government has not released any fund to the NLM Assam. Notably, during the 2019-20 fiscal, NLM Assam had submitted to the Centre a proposal for a Rs 39-crore fund and it received only Rs 8.93 crore.
Sources said that due to the inefficiency of some senior State government officials, large amounts of fund released by the Central government for the agricultural and allied sectors have remained unutilised, and last year an unutilised fund of around Rs 7.25 crore was taken back by the Centre.
Revealing the reason behind the non-releasing of fund for the NLM Assam for this fiscal, the source said that presently the Central government is asking the Assam government to provide a utilisation certificate against a fund to the tune of around Rs 61 lakh released for the livestock sector. As the fund remains unutilised, the State government is not in a position to issue a utilisation certificate against it, and hence the Centre, too, has kept delaying the release of the fund.
Additionally, the Centre had released a fund of Rs 4.75 crore to NLM in February this year for goat farming development. But, due to various reasons, the Mission is yet to get the fund.
The NLM was officially started in Assam in 2014, but practically its activities began in 2016. The Mission has been conducting skill development training programmes for farmers of Assam and developing livestock infrastructure.
Under NLM, farmers were engaged in animal fodder cultivation in Kamrup, Kamrup (M), Morigaon, Barpeta, Nagaon and Sonitpur districts.