Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh today said that all agriculture science centers established in nearly all rural districts are being equipped with sophisticated and scientific facilities throughout the country.
Addressing a press conference on 2 years of achievements, Singh said that the government has chalked out a plan to reduce the input cost in the agriculture sector and to provide farmers better return for their produce. He said that the government has taken the resolve to double the income of farmers.
Government is taking a number of initiatives to minimize the cost of agricultural production. With this goal in mind, 14 crore farmers in the country are being given Soil Health Cards. Apart from this, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana has been launched to promote organic farming. Neem Coated Urea, improved varieties of seeds and planting material, schemes like Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana have been introduced. Farmers are also being provided agricultural loans on concessional rate. The norms related to disaster relief have been altered to help the farmers affected by natural calamities so that they are compensated for the losses appropriately. The discrepancies existing in crop insurance schemes have been removed and a new scheme called Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojana has been launched.
In the last two years, the Government has taken a historical initiative to provide farmers better return of their produce. The concept of one nation and one mandi – has been taken ahead. The Minister said that long pending mandi/ marketing reforms process has been accelerated. The pilot project related to e-mandi has been launched in this financial year. Under this, 21 mandis of 8 states have been linked so far. The government is continuously making efforts to bring uniformity in the rules and regulations pertaining to various mandis in various states. Most of the states have expressed willingness to participate in this project. As of now, proposals of 365 mandis in 12 states have been sanctioned. The Ministry has set a target of establishing unified e-trading platform in 585 mandis throughout the country by 2018.
Singh said that states are expected to rectify three rules and regulation related to mandis. One is to impart permission to e-trade, second is to implement mandi tariff on single window and third is to implement single licence across the state to carry out the trade. So far, 17 states have started working in this direction. The amendment of mandi related rules and regulations will pave way for achieving appropriate price of agricultural produce.
To promote agricultural sector the government has enhanced the allocation to this field from Rs. 15809 crore to Rs. 35984 crore which is more than as double. The government has made an allocation of Rs. 9 lakh crore to provide farmers cheap and concessional loan while accelerating the inflow of agricultural credit. The government has made provision for farmer credit cards as well as relaxation in payment of interests at the time of calamities.
Singh said that to double farmers income by 2020, the government is also imparting priority to the ancillary areas of agricultural sector. Under this, horticulture, livestock, dairy, beekeeping as well as poultry have been promoted. A new scheme called National AgroForestry has been initiated for planting trees over the meadows.