Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and Decentralized Planning in Agriculture
Strengthening Spaces for Small Farmers Engagement
“Peoples’ wisdom should be respected” echoed Mr. Vijoy Prakash, Principal Secretary, Department of Planning and Development, Government of Bihar, while inaugurating the workshop on Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and Decentralised Planning in Agriculture – Strengthening Spaces for Small Farmers Engagement in Patna on 8-9 November 2012. The workshop was jointly organised by Oxfam India – East Regional Office, CECOEDECON and Pairavi.
Welcoming the participants Mr. Pravind Kumar Praveen, stated that small holder agriculture is the central focus when we talk of food and livelihood security. He highlighted that amongst the various dimensions of agriculture one of the major dimensions is public investment in agriculture and there is a need to critically analyze this in the context of small holder agriculture. Keeping this in mind, this workshop has been organised to focus on the much publicized RKVY scheme. He welcomed the participants who consisted of representative from Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha, representatives from civil society organisation, agriculture scientists, government functionaries and friends from media.
After the welcome Ms. Vanita Suneja spoke about vision of Oxfam India on small holder agriculture and focus on RKVY. Vanita told in detail the systematic approach of Oxfam India. She briefed about the structure of Oxfam India and its regional focus. She highlighted that it is an important workshop, where we are trying to enhance awareness around RKVY and a concerted effort around this scheme for better investment and pro small holder planning.
Agreeing with Vainta, Dr. H.S. Sur underlined that RKVY was conceived for decentralized planning and resource allocation for small holders. He recognized the fact that agriculture is the important part of this country’s economy. To get a growth of 4% in agriculture, after an intensive process the scheme of RKVY was evolved, having peoples’ participation as the central focus. Dr. Sur however grieved the fact that in no states decentralized planning could take place. He said that it is ironical that in 11 countries of the word decentralized planning has given growth to their agriculture, but in our own country we are not taking it up in its true sense.
After Dr. Sur’s presentation, Shri Vijoy Prakash delivered the key note address. He acknowledged that it is a very relevant subject on which this workshop is focusing. He said being from the planning department this subject is very close to me. Bihar has vast potential for small holder agriculture and the government is systematically planning to improve the small holder agriculture. Bihar has taken innovative approaches on planning and development. It has introduced the entitlement based planning, where instead of village level planning; the government now focuses on entitlement based planning. The government has already identified 3500 entitlements, based on which planning will be done. The government is highly hopeful that this will lead to an improvement in small holder agriculture. He recognized the contribution of nongovernmental organisations in social development particularly in the field of agriculture and appeal them to do long term sustainable work. Extending his departments support and cooperation he expressed his best wishes for the two days workshop.
After the inaugural plenary, the house reassembled and the first session was started. Introducing Oxfam India’s work and approach on small holder agriculture and RKVY, Sabita made a presentation and talked about various initiatives taken up by Oxfam India. She told that at the regional level in different states there is an effort on knowledge building and a concerted advocacy. The focus on RKVY is a part of this process. Making his presentation on an overview of RKVY Dr. Bhende from ISEC, Bangaluru talked about the national perspective of the scheme. He touched upon different aspects of the RKVY and its potentials for farmers. He stressed that there is a need of facilitating peoples’ engagement at the planning level, so that accordingly resources can be allocated in the scheme. Prof. Sivanna talking on decentralized planning and peoples’ engagement dealt in detail on how farmers can be engaged at different levels of planning and what are the basic information a farmer should have to better participate in the planning process. Finding the subject engaging many of the farmers present in the workshop, asked questions and clarifications to Prof. Sivanna.
This led to the last session of the day which was chaired by Shri Nand Kishor Singh. In this session farmers representatives, PRI representatives and agriculture experts spoke on experiences and challenges on small holder agriculture. Ms. Dhruva Mukhopadhyay from PRADAN shared about PRADAN’s initiatives on small holder agriculture, especially how they are trying to tap the potentials of small holder agriculture and facilitating community based interventions. Ms. Seema Devi a community member from Sahar District said how their lives revolve around agriculture. She said there are challenges but they are well prepared and would overcome all the challenges. She said the government should be more proactive in supporting small holder agriculture. She also narrated about their experience of collective farming, which has given them a sense of empowerment.
The second day of the workshop started with a group exercise on views on whatever expenditure shown under RKVY is relevant to small holder or not and what are the issues which need to be addressed to facilitate decentralized planning for small holder agriculture. The groups were divided state wise. Each of the group said that the expenditure is not according to the aspirations of small holders, they have not been made part of any planning and there are challenges at various levels. The group on national perspective said that there is a need of awareness generation and proactive steps by the government for better engagement of small holders at various levels. After the group work Shri Anil Jha, Deputy Director, Agriculture, Government of Bihar made his presentation on agriculture scenario in Bihar. He talked about the vision of government of Bihar for agriculture. Talking about the agriculture road map of Bihar, he shared the initiatives on increasing the production of various crops. He also talked about government’s multi dimensional approach on improving agriculture in the state. After Anilji’s presentation, Shri Mohd. Ismail, Project Director, ATMA Jehanabad made a presentation on ATMA and Decentralised Planning. Shri Ismail shared about ATMA’s role in agriculture development. He talked about various initiatives of ATMA and specially focused on the farmers’ school. He said that there is a need of more and more engagement of farmers at different initiatives of ATMA.
At the last plenary of the workshop Dr. Sur presented the recommendations evolved out of inputs given in the two days of deliberations. The recommendations were as under:
- Decentralized planning was initiated in the RKVY, yet we have to go a long way to fully implement. A strategic campaign mode is required for effective implementation of decentralization under RKVY.
- Issue of small and marginal farmers not yet well addressed because of weak implementation of decentralization, where gram sabha is the basic unit, but in states, need to encourage this kind of planning.
- Initiative of putting information on status of RKVY on website is good but requires improvement. Information need to be simple. Useful details for people information need to be included.
- C-DAP plans for each district need to be put.
- Progress reports at regular intervals need to be updated.
- Infrastructure in agriculture need more importance, and need to be taken in 12 Plan.
- Accountability at different level for effective implementation of RKVY and Democratic decentralize planning (DDP) need to be fixed.
- Projects/works emerged from village/panachayat need reflection in the block level plan and those emanating from blocks in C-DAP and that of districts in the State plan (SAP).
- A timeline in C-DAP preparation and graded funding at different level (panchayat, block and district) should be prepared and adhered.
- ATMA’s involvement and integration with RKVY required.
- Social Auditing need to be encouraged.
- More association of NGOs and non state actors is required for effective decentralized planning, implementation and social audits and spaces need to created.
- Capacity building of CSOs and PRIs is required on RKVY. RKVY incentivized states to increase investments in Agriculture. On an average in the country 6% has been increased. State is happy with RKVY because of autonomy.
- RKVY also enhanced investments in the allied sectors effectively Number of projects and investment increased in horticulture and fisheries.
At the end thanking all those who participated in the workshop, Pravind underlined that there is a need of all of us to come together and make a concerted effort on improving the small holder agriculture. We need to take both macro and micro level initiatives. With this the two day workshop came to an end.
Story Credit : Prakash Gardia