Govt announces Rs 300 crore relief package to farmers

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New Delhi: The government Wednesday announced a relief package of Rs 300 crore to provide diesel and seed subsidy, among others, in order to save standing kharif crops in the eventuality of drought and deficit rainfall.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today approved allocation of Rs 300 crore to provide diesel and seed subsidy, save horticulture crops and improve fodder supply, an official release said.

“Immediate remedial measures are to be initiated to save standing agricultural crops and perennial orchards… Measures to be initiated by state governments in the eventuality of drought deficit rainfall situation,” the release said.

The government approved Rs 100 crore for implementing the diesel subsidy scheme for protective irrigation of crops.

Under the scheme, 50 percent diesel subsidy would be given to farmers to supplement irrigation to protect standing kharif crops in areas where rainfall deficit is more than 50 percent as on July 15, sources said.

The CCEA has also enhanced the ceiling on seed subsidy to partially re-compensate farmers for the additional expenditure incurred in resowing and purchasing appropriate varieties of seeds.

The CCEA also made an additional allocation of Rs 150 crore under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture to implement drought mitigating interventions on perennial horticulture crops.

The government has also approved an allocation of Rs 50 crore for Accelerated Fodder Development Programme in states which are facing fodder shortages.

The Agriculture Ministry’s proposal has been approved for initiating a series of farmer-friendly interventions in the wake of deficient rainfall as per IMD forecast of below average monsoon. This will help in dealing with challenges posed by delayed and aberrant monsoon, it added.

The measures will help farmers in rain deficit areas of Marathwada region in Maharashtra, Rayalseema in Andhra Pradesh, north-interior parts of Karnataka as well as Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh.

As a result of the these interventions, the government said that farmers will be better equipped to deal with challenges posed by delayed and aberrant monsoon, as state governments will be able to initiate immediate remedial measures to save standing agricultural crops and perennial orchards in rainfall deficient districts.

Besides, farmers will be able procure seeds for contingent cropping where normal sowing window is no longer available or resowing is required.

“Appropriate measures to ensure availability of fodder and feed for livestock will be possible because of these interventions. These intervention will help in minimizing the adverse impact of deficient rainfall on agriculture production,” the statement added.

South West Monsoon (June to September) contributes about 80 percent of total rainfall of the country. Timely onset and even spatial distribution of rainfall is crucial for cultivation of kharif crops.

As per the report of the IMD till today, there has been deficit rainfall for states of Meghalaya (-33 percent), Nagaland (-58 percent), Manipur (-20 percent), Mizoram (-30 percent), Bihar (-31 percent), Uttar Pradesh (-32 percent), Haryana (-24 percent), Punjab(-26 percent), Goa(-22 percent), Maharashtra (-26 percent), Telangana(-22 percent), AP (-24 percent), Karnataka (-23 percent), and Kerala(-30 percent).

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