Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh that by next year about 14 crore farmers will get Soil Health Card and significant numbers will get the insurance cover.
Addressing regional Editors Conference in Chandigarh today, Singh said that under Soil Health Card scheme Rs 368.30 crore has been allocated this year compare to Rs. 142 crore last year. “An allocation of Rs 5,500 crore in the year 2016-17 budget has been made under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana which was are Rs 3,185 crore in the previous budget. This is an increase of about 73% in this scheme. Subsequently, Rs 500 crore has also been allocated by Finance Minister and there is further demand for Rs 10,583 crore,” he added.
The Minister said that his government is committed for the prosperity and welfare of farmers, for this purpose a number of initiatives have been taken during last two and half year. Within four years objective of “Water to every field” will be achieved. Improved irrigation facilities with long term irrigation fund and better management initiated by this government will help to achieve the target.
Singh said that to ensure better prices for the produce of farmers government is working in connecting all agriculture Mandis with a national platform and by next year all the 585 Mandis will be connected to a common single market where farmers would be able to sell their produce for better price. He said that direct benefits transfer to farmers under various scheme will also be made possible in near future.
He said that the government is working for financial empowerment of the farmers through various ways. The credit flow to the agriculture sector has been increased to 9.0 lakh crore and to reduce the pressure of loan on farmers, Rs. 15,000 crore has been allocated for interest subvention. Singh said the Centre is already providing 5 percent interest subsidy to the banks out of 9 percent being charged by them for agriculture loan. Union Minister appealed to the state governments to provide remaining 4 percent from their exchequer so that farmers can get agriculture loan at 0 percent.
Reiterating that government is committed to ensure two fold increase in the income of farmers, the Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister said that besides increase in MSP, other scheme have been taken up to raise the income of the farmers.
Singh said that his ministry has decided to set up 150 seed hubs in country to increase production of pulses. Each hub produces 1000 quintal of quality seeds which will be provide to farmers.