It was in May 2007 that the National Development Council (NDC) decided to launch a fresh new scheme to rejuvenate farming. Called the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), the scheme was a first in many respects as it sought to incentivize increasing net irrigated area, the area under pulses and oilseeds cultivation and increasing state’s own expenditure on agriculture and allied activities. It also gave a sort of independence to states to frame their own district and state level farming plans. In the 11th five year plan (2007-08 to 2011-12), a sum of Rs 25,000 crore was allocated for the programme, which was raised to Rs 63,246 crore in the 12th five-year plan (2012-13 to 2016-17). Different sub-schemes like Bringing Green Revolution in Eastern India (BGREI), Accelerated Fodder Development Programme, etc have been part of the scheme. Since the start of the 12th five-year plan (2012-13), the actual annual fund release under the programme has been consistently lower than the budgetary allocation.
The funding pattern of the programme was changed 2015-16 onwards from 100 per cent central government to 60:40 between centre and states. (It was 90:10 for eight North-Eastern states and three Himalayan States).This was part of the overall reorganization of the Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS). This also meant that states now had a greater onus on fund allocation and utilization and unless they released their share of funds and furnished proper Utilization Certificates (UC), the Centre would not be able to release its share. There was no cut in budgetary allocation, but it ensured that they were not open-ended and releases happened only if states spend their share. Data till December 04, 2017 showed that out of the total budgetary allocation of Rs 4,750 crore in 2017-18 as Central share of the programme, around 49 per cent has been released, while a staggering 38 per cent is lying unspent as the states haven’t either placed request for the funds or have not furnished proper utilization certificates in the absence of which fund release become difficult. Almost 11 per cent of the total budgetary allocation for the scheme in 2017-18 is in the process of getting approved as UC’s have been received for the programme till December 04, 2017. In some states like Jharkhand, zero funds under the programme were released till December 04, 2017 against an allocation of around Rs 129 crore due to large unspent balance from previous years. The government on November 1 this year revamped and renamed the RKVY as RKVY-Raftaar (Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana- Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied sector Rejuvenation for three years starting from 2017-18 to 2019-20. The funding pattern for the programme was kept at 60:40 between centre and states, while the total allocation for the programme was almost Rs 15,800 crore. One big difference between the old RKVY and the new one is the parameters under which funds would be routed to the states. In the old programme, around 35 per cent of the funds flowed for achieving production growth, while an equal (35%) went on creation of infrastructure and assets and 20 per cent was earmarked for the eight sub-schemes under RVKY. The remaining, that is 10 per cent, was classified as flexi-funds, which enabled states to spend according to their choice. Later, some alterations enabled states to spend more on infrastructure and assets. In the new RKVY-Raftaar, as per the official statement, around 70 per cent funds will flow for the creation of infrastructure, value-addition linked production projects, flexi-funds (which states can use as per their needs), 30 per cent will be on sub-schemes and 10 per cent on innovation and agriculture-entrepreneurship development. The key question though remains that unless states are pro-active enough in utilizing the funds allocated under the scheme and sending proper certificates, funds used would remain a cause for concern.