In order to provide immediate relief to the farmers, in view of the deficient monsoon during Kharif season 2015, the Government of India has taken a number of decisions to incentivise them. Orders on these measures have already been issued to all states which will implement them on the basis of assessed need.
Additional days of work under MGNREGA: The Government has decided to provide an additional 50 days of unskilled manual work in the financial year over and above the 100 days assured to job card holders in such rural areas where drought or natural calamities has been notified. This will enable states to provide additional wage employment to rural poor in drought affected areas. The poorest rural households will benefit from this, as it will help in immediate absorption of rural seasonal unemployment, and reduce rural distress.
Diesel subsidy: It has been decided to provide diesel subsidy to the farmers to enable them to provide life saving irrigation through diesel pump sets in the drought and deficit rainfall areas to protect the standing crops. For this, the Government has fixed a fund of Rs 100 Crore. The farmers in the affected regions will be covered during the current South-West monsoon period till September 30, 2015.
The scheme will be implemented with the participation of the state and union territories with a view to offset the cost of diesel used for pumping water for providing supplementary irrigation. The scheme will be applicable in the areas where the rainfall deficit is more than 50 percent as on July 15, 2015, the areas with prolonged dry spell continuously for 15 days, scanty rainfall for any continuous 15 days period.
The scheme will provide 50 percent subsidy on the cost of diesel, Rs 2000 per hectare to the affected farmers, limited to a maximum of two hectares of landholding. The cost of assistance provided will be shared between the Centre and the states/UTs on 50:50 basis.
Increasing seed subsidy: to compensate the farmers in the drought affected districts for the additional expenditure incurred in the sowing and purchasing appropriate varieties of drought resistant seeds, it has been decided to raise the extant ceiling on seed subsidy by 50 percent over existing levels for distribution in drought affected districts.
Interventions for perennial horticulture: The Government will provide input support measures to rejuvenate water stressed horticulture crops, with an additional allocation of Rs150 crore. The scheme is to be implemented in all drought affected districts, blocks which are covered under Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), being implemented by Department of Agriculture. Farmers in the drought affected areas will be provided assistance at Rs 6000 per hectare as per cost norms for a maximum area of two hectare per beneficiary for taking up appropriate combination of interventions. the assistance will be shared between the Centre and the states on 50:50 basis.
Additional fodder development programme: The Government will provide assistance for additional interventions for production of fodder for mitigating adverse impact of drought on livestock with an allocation of Rs50 crore. Farmers in the drought affected areas will be provided assistance at Rs 3200 per hectare as per cost norms for a maximum area of two hectare per beneficiary for taking up additional production of fodder. The Centre and the states will share cost of assistance on 50:50 basis.
Allocation under RKVY: The Central Government has advised the states to keep aside about 5 to 10 percent of fund allocated under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) for undertaking appropriate interventions. The 10 percent of the allocation under Centrally Sponsored Scheme will be utilised in flexible manner by the states to meet contingent requirement arising out of deficient rains.
Crop contingency plan : The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, through ICAR-Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), Hyderabad has prepared detailed crop Contingency Plans for 600 districts of across the country. The Centre has advised the States to prepare, update, fine-tune Contingency Plans for each district in consultation with ICAR-CRIDA and the State Agriculture Universities and to prepare location specific remedial measures based on these contingency plans in the event of late arrival of monsoon, long dry spells, scanty rainfall or drought conditions. As seen from the experience of last year, these are highly useful in case of a deficient monsoon.
Advisories to states: The Central Government has advised the state to initiate advance remedial action such as constructing water harvesting structures under MGNREGA and other such schemes, promoting agronomic practices for moisture conservation, promoting cultivation of less water consuming crops and restoring irrigation infrastructure by desilting canals, energising tube-wells, replacing or repairing of non-functional pumps.
SMS Advisory: The Ministry of Agriculture through the m-Kisan portal sends SMS advisories to registered farmers. These advisories include weather based SMS advisories, advisories to suggest measures to minimise adverse impact of extreme weather conditions. The ministry through various operators had sent about 700 crores SMS in last one year. These SMS are sent by ICAR, SAUs, KVKs, AMFU etc and district level state government officials.