Guwahati, May 7: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday sought recommendations of the recently- constituted economic advisory committee for re-energising the state’s economy hit by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Sonowal, during a meeting held here, urged the panel members to devise strategies to bring about an economic resurgence by creating a model that reaches the grassroots through the panchayats.
Observing that agriculture and allied sectors have a potential to generate employment opportunities and yield economic dividends, Sonowal stressed on the need to provide market linkage to farmers while assuring them of a minimum guaranteed price for their produce.
“As lack of market linkage could demotivate farmers, especially the young generation, it is necessary to make sure that farmers’ produce does not get wasted in the fields,” the chief minister said.
He called on the committee to give recommendations on streamlining production-procurement-marketing chain so that a roadmap can be prepared for achieving market sustainability for the farmers.
Augmentation of cold storages and other such facilities is the need of the hour and the committee must put forward its suggestions in this regard, he said.
Noting that every crisis brings opportunity, Sonowal stressed on the need to make the state self-reliant in sectors such as fisheries, livestock, fruit cultivation and dairy farming through strategic interventions.
He said youths of Assam returning from other states due to the novel coronavirus outbreak must be empowered to lead a life of dignity through self-employment opportunities.
Agriculture and its allied sectors can play a very important role in this regard, Sonowal said.
Citing experiences from his Vietnam visit, the chief minister elaborated on the practice of value addition to food products in the Southeast Asian country and said Assam has the potential to capture the markets of the neighbouring countries with its agricultural produce.
Noting that 58,000 self-help groups (SHGs) in the state had earned more than Rs 900 crore by engaging in livestock business last year, Sonowal emphasised the need to rejuvenate the SHG model for rural economic resurgence.
He said central schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana were launched to double the income of the farmers.
Sonowal urged the members of the committee to give recommendations for proper implementation of the schemes.
He said the present crisis has given an opportunity to root out the middlemen from the system and engage local youths in the distribution of agricultural produce.
“Unless and until the society gives respect to the farmers, the young generation could not be encouraged to take up farming as a profession,” he added. (PTI)