New Delhi: The NITI Aayog should continue to determine the levels of funds to be allocated to the states and fix plan expenditure, like the erstwhile Planning Commission, Kerala government said Sunday.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the Aayog should continue with the function performed by the Planning Commission of determining, in consultation with the finance ministry and state governments, the amount of resources to be made available to the states for Plan and Budget preparation.
The Aayog must also play an important role in finalising the quantum of resources available for Plan spending, he said at the first meeting of the NITI Aayog in New Delhi.
Observing that the Centre's ambitious Beti Bachao Abhiyan and Jan Dhan Yojana programmes were not relevant for Kerala as it had already achieved high standards in these area, Chandy asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allocate the funds meant for such programmes to develop his state's dwindling agriculture productivity.
"Some flagship programmes such as Beti Bachao and Jan Dhan Yojana may not be relevant for Kerala as we have already reached high standards in these areas. However, we have several concerns which have not been addressed adequately in the stated national priorities.
"There should be much more focus on making agriculture a viable and productive occupation through a suitable flagship programme, which focuses on research oriented assistance to agriculturists," the chief minister said.
He said farmers who repay loans on time should be entitled to interest-free loans through interest subsidies provided by the Centre and state governments.
"In my opinion, interest subsidy of the Centre should be increased from present 3 per cent to 4 per cent. The Centre will make sure that loan from NABARD reaches the farmer at 7 percent interest rate," he said.
Chandy said the states need maximum flexibility to take care of their own specific concerns like second generation issues in education and health sectors or special schemes for ageing population.