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The Central government has granted relaxation in the nationwide lockdown for activities related to agriculture-farming and allied activities with a view to address problems being faced by the farming community. This will also ensure uninterrupted harvesting of crops.
Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar was apprised of the difficulties the farmers could face in the harvesting of their crops and transporting foodgrains to the mandis. Keeping in view the demands of farmers and concerned organisations, the Government considered and sympathetically examined the issue, following which a practical solution was arrived at in the interest of farmers and related communities.
The Union Home Ministry has issued second Addendum to the Guidelines related to the nationwide lockdown issued on March 24 and 25, 2020. Under this Addendum, activities related to agriculture and related products, services and such other activities have been brought under the exception categories from the 21-day lockdown. This will also allow unhindered harvesting of crops.
Under the 2nd Addendum, following categories have been exempted from the lockdown;
- Agencies engaged in procurement of agriculture products, including MSP (minimum support price) operations;
- ‘Mandis’ operated by the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) or as notified by the state government
- Farming operations by farmers and farm workers in the field
- ‘Custom Hiring Centres (CHC)’ related to farm machinery
- Manufacturing and packaging units of fertilisers, pesticides and seed
- Intra and inter-state movement of harvesting and sowing related machines like combined harvester and other agriculture and horticulture implements
This decision has been taken with a view to facilitate unhindered activities related to agriculture and farming so as to ensure essential supplies to the common man and that the farmers and common people do not face any difficulty during the lockdown. Government of India has issued necessary directions to the concerned ministries and departments and designated officials of the states and UTs.
The agribusiness industry has welcomed the exemptions from the government. Welcoming the move, Rajesh Aggarwal, Managing Director, Insecticide India said, “It is a welcome move to make the agriculture products available to the farmers. However, we all need to be very cautious and follow the rules of social distancing in the same as well and also educate each other. Besides, information and required orders should reach to required authorities so that there are no issues.”
Read more on agriculture industry perspective on Covid-19 Lockdown;