A shift from highly water-intensive crops to less water-intensive crops and establishment of dairy processing and milk value chain are among the recommendations made to the Tamil Nadu government by the Rangarajan Committee that studied the impact of COVID-19 on the State’s economy.
In its recommendations for agriculture and allied sectors, the committee said eligible farmer groups and farmer producer organisations (FPOs) should be given funds for pooling produce and marketing. “FPOs/FPCs [Farmer Producer Companies] are to be encouraged to be the aggregators of farm produce,” it said.
The committee said integrated market complexes could be the “one stop solution” across the State and at least one agricultural machinery custom hiring centres should be established in every village.
Intense implementation at the earliest of the solar energy pumping system under the B and C schemes of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evem Utthan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) and the opting of eggs and meat processing units in the public-private partnership mode were the other recommendations for the agriculture sector.
As for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector, the committee pitched for a State-level credit guarantee scheme and an MSME fund to take advantage of the Union government’s MSME Fund of Funds to increase credit ﬂows to these units.
“An appropriate area-based insurance scheme for the sector needs to be devised,” it said.
For banking and finance, the committee recommended an amendment to make mortgages valid as long as they were registered with the Sub-Registrar’s Office on or before March 31, 2020.
Decentralised health care
The committee has recommended a decentralised health care delivery system, which it felt was necessary in the context of the pandemic.
“The health and wellness centres scheme needs to be revived and implemented with a much higher level of ﬁnancial investment,” it said. Urban primary health centres should be complemented by mobile units to deliver basic services and the cadre/number of public health professionals should be increased substantially.
It underlined the need for implementing the Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, which it felt was key to improving the lot of migrant workers. The government should make sure that migrant workers were registered under the Act.