The minister referred to concerns raised by farmers about subsidies of various schemes.
Mumbai: Agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar has written a letter to the commissioner, agriculture about funds that have been lying unspent in his department. The commissioner was asked to take action against officers who are responsible for the unused funds, whose exact amount was not mentioned in the letter.
The minister referred to concerns raised by farmers about subsidies of various schemes. He asked the commissioner detail why the farmers were not receiving money that was due to them. The commissioner was also instructed by the minister to meet the latter ‘alone’ on Monday, in the absence of the department director. The Asian Age has a copy of the letter.
In the letter written on March 14, marked as ‘confidential’, Mr Fundkar wrote, “The Central government as well as state government keeps funds for various agricultural schemes. It is expected that this fund needs to be used for personal and social benefits of farmers. The funds are aimed at increasing the income of farmers because this income gets reflected in the economy. But it has come to my notice that a large number of farmers are not receiving these funds, which is actually their right,”
Giving the details of complaints that he himself had received, the minister further wrote, “When I was touring some parts of the state recently, there were many complaints about subsidies for farmers. When I asked the district agriculture officer about the same, he said that the fund is being used. But one can easily understand tat the large amount is yet to be spent as the number of farmers complaining is very high.” Mr Fundkar noted that the micro irrigation scheme, technical aid for agriculture and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Empowerment Scheme among other state government plans have been facing this problem.
Mr Fundkar has sought an explanation from the commissioner, as he is the chief implementation officer of schemes and decisions regarding the agriculture department.
“The financial year is almost to end now. But still there are unspent funds, and it is sad for us. You must take action against the officers responsible and personally submit your report to me,” wrote Mr Fundkar. The last sentence of the letter clearly indicates the mood of the minister. “While coming to meet, do not bring any director with you,” he wrote.
The Maharashtra government is facing flak over the agricultural sector’s growth rate dipping to -8.03 in the financial year 2017-18. The Economic Survey of the state has brought this figure to light, which has become a point of embarrassment for the state government.