National River Policy needed to resolve water disputes: Governor Narasimhan

Hyderabad, July 12: Speaking at the 37 th Foundation Day ceremony of NABARD, Sri E.S.L. Narasimhan, Governor of AP & Telangana said that there is a need to bring out a National River Policy and the Centre as an arbitrator, should decide on the quantum of water each state gets based on the area under cultivation. The Governor said such a policy will ensure equitable distribution of water amongst the states and can prevent water disputes between states. Sri E.S.L. Narasimhan participated as the ChiefGuest at the 37 th Foundation Day programme organized by NABARD at its office at Hyderabad on Thursday.

The Governor said nobody can claim ownership to water as it is a precious natural resource and equitable distribution of water only can prevent water disputes in the future. The Governor said happiness index of the people should be considered as an important parameter to be considered rather than statistical data. Governor said profitability is an important issue when it comes to agriculture cultivation. He said one has to look at the food security, energy security health security, which are three
important things to be considered for happiness index of people ratherthan economic growth or other statistical parameters.

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Referring to the objective of NABARD, which is to promote sustainable, equitable agriculture, and rural development, participative financial and non-financial interventions, institutional development etc. Governor said NABARD as an apex financial institution should go for innovative measures. He said when we talk of agriculture we talk about MSP and said he would rather talk about profitability of agriculture than MSP. MSP is only one part of it profitability – making the quality seeds, storage space, water, power available to the farmer brings him profitability. He said dispersing the cultivation of agriculture produce is needed and it should not be paddy alone and said the consultancy NABARD comes into in advising the farmers in dispersive farming such as aqua culture, horticulture, sericulture and other systems of cultivation. Governor said we should not follow the Cafeteria approach, which is based on a certain menu. He said farming should rather be based on demand based approach and diversification of crops on demand is the need of hour and NABARD can play a great role of consultancy in this aspect.

Technical solutions, have to be beneficial to the farmer. If one crop fails his whole life comes to an end as they do not have reserves like the RBI, said the Governor. Convince farmers, show them model farming, pilot projects and convince into diversification of crops rather than set pattern of farming. Governor said timely availability of credit is more important and it should be made available to him when he needs it more by cutting down the procedural delays. He said general perception is that access to credit is involved with huge process which delays release of credit when it is needed the most. Change the process of making credit facilities available to farmers in time. Governor said NABARD has to really look at the interest of the farmers in a big way. Rural industrialisation can increase profit margin and solve unemployment problem. Governor said when someone sets up an industry in a rural area, people come to set up tea stalls etc. NABARD should rather provide consultancy to the rural people, upgrade their skills to make them get suitable employment in those industries. The concept of Farmers Producers Organisations is very good but needs to be modified to make it profitable to farmers with small holdings. He said during his visit to Srikakulam he found farmers with small land holding that the returns they get are very less. FPOs should come together and combine the land holding, encourage joint cultivation. Governor said the concept of SHG is very good and NABARD has done really good job in that sector. Governor said minor irrigation should be encouraged as major irrigation takes more time need lot of funds. He said there used to be thousands of water bodies in and around the Hyderabad city which are vanished now. NABARD should offer its consultancy in reviving these water bodies and encourage minor irrigation as it more advantageous to the farmers.

R. Subramanian, Regional Director of RBI, Dr. P. Radhakrishnan, NABARD Chief General Manager, Telangana region, K. Suresh Kumar, Chief General Manager, NABARD, AP region, bank officials, members of self help groups, farmers have attended the programme. Awards were given to farmers with innovative practices, best performing FPOs of AP and Telangana, on the occasion.

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