Ruchika M Khanna
Chandigarh, June 8
The government has roped in Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as a consultant, initially for six months, for helping the state in its efforts for crop diversification and management of crop stubble.
The global consultant will suggest the pathway to the government while it prepares its agriculture policy, to be announced by the end of this month. On the cards is the shift from the wheat-paddy monoculture to increasing the area under cotton, basmati, sugarcane, pulses and oilseeds. However, wet May (rain 136 per cent above normal) is likely to play truant in the implementation of the new agriculture policy.
Rs 5.65 cr to be paid to Boston group
- BCG will initially be paid Rs 5.65 crore for planning the path to be adopted by the state for both diversification in agriculture and management of paddy stubble
- Based on the plan, the government will take a call on whether to retain the consultant for the implementation of the plan
Sources in the government said the Request for Proposal (RFP) to hire a consultant for the Agriculture Department to frame the policy was floated earlier this year. It was after the tender was floated thrice that BCG was hired as a consultant as no one else came forward to participate in the tender.
After the tender was allotted in favour of BCG, the matter was taken to the Punjab Cabinet for approval. The company is to be initially paid Rs 5.65 crore for planning the path to be adopted by the state for both diversification in agriculture and management of paddy stubble. Based on the plan, the government will take a call on whether to retain the consultant for the implementation of the plan.
Interestingly, the government had earlier constituted a committee of experts to help it prepare the agriculture policy, headed by Punjab Farmers and Farm Workers Commission chairman Sukhpal Singh. This committee is also reportedly preparing the agriculture policy.
Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Janjua had said last week that BCG had been allotted the tender as it fulfilled all conditions made in the RFP. “It is one of the globally renowned consultants and is already empanelled by the Government of India. We have hired it at almost half the rate by negotiating with it to help us in our efforts to rejuvenate the agriculture sector,” he had said.
The sources said as part of the new policy, the government wanted to increase the area under cotton from 2.50 lakh hectares to 3 lakh hectares, but only 1.75 lakh hectares had been cultivated under cotton because of rain in May. The government wanted to increase the area under moong to 30,000 hectares, but only 20,000 hectares could be brought under its cultivation.
“This is because of unseasonal rain in May. The area under cotton has also reduced because of late harvesting of wheat this year,” said a senior officer.
It is also learnt that the government wants to increase the area under sugarcane to 1.25 lakh hectares and basmati to 6 lakh hectares, up from 4.94 lakh hectares last year.
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