Kathmandu, June 23
While addressing the discussions over the budget today at the Parliament, Agriculture Minister Chakrapani Khanal, provided assurance that the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development will spend more than 80 per cent of its capital budget by the end of this fiscal year.
Minister Khanal informed that the ministry still has to make payments to most of the projects under the ministry and that is why the expenditure looks very low. He mentioned that capital expenditure made by the ministry is balanced after being criticised by the lawmakers for not spending the allocated budget in the current fiscal.
“So far, our capital expenditure is 61 per cent, however it will grow to over 80 per cent by the end of this fiscal,” he said, “We do not pay until a project is completed and that is why our expenditure seems low.”
Besides, he also informed that partial authority to make expenses under the Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project (PMAMP) will be handed over to the provinces from next fiscal.
According to Minister Khanal, the work responsibility of pocket and block areas under the PMAMP will be handed over to provincial governments and they will be allocated a total of Rs 4.35 billion.
“Some responsibilities under PMAMP have been handed over to the provinces as per the recommendations of the Parliament,” he stated.
PMAMP has a target to establish at least one model agriculture farm in each province in the next fiscal.
The minister further said that the organisational structure of the offices under PMAMP will be improved in the next fiscal to make this project more useful and result oriented.
“Currently, around 600 students are working as interns at several agriculture farms under this project.
The project is also preparing to operate 106 zones and 16 super zones in the next fiscal year,” Minister Khanal said.
Besides, the draft of the framework for agriculture grant distribution is in the final phase and from the next fiscal such grant will be distributed through the banking channel, he said. To address the recommendations of the members of Parliament to develop agricultural sector in a scientific way, the minister said that the ministry has allocated Rs 2.71 billion for research and development activities for next fiscal.
Meanwhile, Khanal also mentioned about the budget allocated for chemical fertilisers, youth programmes, agriculture insurance, agriculture mechanism, livestock development and social security grant for farmers during the meeting.
For the next fiscal year, the Ministry of Finance has allocated a total of Rs 34.83 billion to MoALD. Of this total, Rs 28.9 billion has been allotted for the federal government, Rs 5.5 billion for provincial governments and Rs 1.68 billion for the local governments.
A version of this article appears in print on June 24, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.