(The Gist of Kurukshetra) Government Schemes [APRIL-2018]

(The Gist of Kurukshetra) Government Schemes


Government Schemes

Realising the importance of agriculture & allied sector in the economy of the country, Government of India has taken several steps & measures for its sustainable development. Steps have been taken to improve soil fertility on a sustainable basis through the Soil Health Card Scheme launched by the Government of India in February 2015. Under this scheme, samples of soil are taken and tested in the labs to assess the health of soil in the form of presence/absence of required micro-nutrients. Thereafter, the experts suggest the farmers the measures to improve productivity of their soil through the judicious use of inputs.

Presently, the net irrigated area in the country is only 68.1 million hectare which is nearly 48% of net sown area. In order to provide improved access to irrigation and enhanced water efficiency, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) was launched on lst July, 2015 with the motto of Har Khet K0 Paani. The scheme aims at the expansion of net irrigated area, reduce wastage of water and improve efficiency in the use of water. It also focuses on creating sources for assured irrigation through rainwater harvesting to ensure” more crop-per drop”. The scheme was approved with an outlay of Rs. 50,000 crore for a period of 5 years starting from 2015-16 to 2019-20. In 2018-19 budget, a sum of Rs. 2600 crore has been earmarked to boost groundwater irrigation in 96 irrigation deprived districts of the country.

Of late, demand for organically produced food grains, fruits, vegetables and drinks etc. is growing rapidly across the globe. Organic farming relies on the application of fertilizers of organic origin such as compost, vermi-compost, green manure, bio-fertilisers and bio-pesticides. It emphasis on the techniques of crop rotation and companion planting, mixed cropping and trap crop etc. Indian farmers, with their traditional methods and techniques of farming are poised to encash the immense export potential of organic farming. In order to promote organic farming in the country, a new scheme named Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) was launched in 2015 by the Union Government. Under this scheme, the willing farmers are required to form a group of minimum 50 farmers with total area of not less than 50 acres. Each farmer enrolling in the scheme is provided a sum Rs. 20, 000 (spread over three years) per acres by the government. This fund can be utilized for obtaining agriculture inputs and transporting the produce to the market.

The main focus of the Union Budget for the financial year 2018-19 is on strengthening and reviving the agriculture and allied sector in the rural economy. The Government is keen to double the income of the farmers by the year 2022, through launching new schemes which encompass farm activities from seed to marketing. To achieve this target, institutional credit to the farm sector has been increased to Rs. 11 lakh crore in 2018-19 as compared to 10 lakh crore of previous year. Operation Greens has been launched to address fluctuations in the price of perishable agriculture produce particularly tomato, onion and potato (TOP). It aims at promoting and augmenting food processing in rural area with a budgetary provision of Rs. 500 crore. In order to strengthen the agriculture marketing network, there is the proposal to set up Agri Market Infrastructure Fund with a corpus of Rs. 2000 crore. It aims at Upgrading and strengthening of existing 22000 rural haats into Gramin Agricultural Markets. Extending the facility of Kisan Credit Card to the farmers engaged in fisheries, aquaculture and animal husbandry, a sum of Rs. 10,000 crore have been allocated to develop this sector. The emphasis is given on creation of rural infrastructure by allocating a sum of Rs. 14.34 lakh crore is also laudable. The failure of crops for consecutive years and low prices of agricultural products have forced the farmers to commit suicides and protests in many states. The Union Budget for 2018-19 promises to fix minimum support price for all kharif and rabi crops to guarantee farmers at least 50 per cent returns of their production cost. This decision would ensure assured prices to the farmers and indeed will be helpful to achieve the target of doubling their income within the stipulated period.

To improve production and productivity of agriculture, adoption of quality inputs including high yield variety seeds is critical. There is an urgent need to expand the area under irrigation by adopting the appropriate technologies like sprinkler, drip irrigation and rainwater harvesting. The rational & efficient use of fertilizers and pesticides is also essential in order to increase productivity and avoid crop yield losses due to pests & diseases. Access to institutional credit at affordable rate is also desired to purchase expensive agricultural inputs. Further, the importance of timely Government intervention in agriculture marketing can also not be denied. Last but not least, providing timely advisory services to farmers to adopt best farm practices and technology through market information system is also essential.

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Courtesy: Kurukshetra