Friday, August 31, 2012

Contingency plan to Tackle Drought Like Situation
Ministry of Agriculture has prepared Contingency plans for 353 districts across the country for implementing location specific interventions to sustain agriculture production.

Subsidy on seeds has been enhanced to partially recompense the farmers for the expenditure in re-sowing and/or purchasing drought tolerant variety of seeds. In view of deficient rainfall, states such as Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh have been allocated with additional power from Central Pool.

Reserve Bank of India issued standing guidelines to banks for providing relief to the farmers in areas affected by natural calamities including drought. These guidelines have been issued to enable the banks to take uniform and concerted action expeditiously, particularly to provide the financial assistance to the farmers affected by natural calamities. These guidelines inter-alia envisage the following:

- Conversion/re-scheduling of loans in the event of natural calamity for periods ranging from 3 to 9 years depending upon the successive crop failure/intensity of damage of crops.

- Grant of fresh crop loans to affected farmers

- Conversion of principal as well as interest due on the existing loans

- Grant of consumption loans

- Not to compound interest of loans converted/rescheduled etc.

- Not to charge penal interest in respect of current dues in default.

In so far as fertilizer prices is concerned, Urea is provided at a fixed Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of Rs. 5310 per metric ton since 01.04.2010. Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Policy is being implemented on Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers under which a fixed subsidy is provided based on its nutrient content. MRP is fixed by fertilizer companies. The prices of P&K fertilizers have increased mainly due to increase in international prices of fertilizers and due to depreciation of Indian rupee. However, Government provides subsidy to the extent of 50% to 67% of the delivered cost on these fertilizers.

To protect the yield losses to standing crops of the farmers due to non-preventable causes including natural calamities and adverse weather conditions, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India has been implementing 4 schemes namely (1) National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS); (2) Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS); (3) Pilot Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS) and (4) Coconut Palm Insurance Scheme (CPIS).

National Water Development Agency (NWDA) has identified 30 river linking projects for preparation of Feasibility Reports (FRs).

Ministry of Water Resources under its schemes “Project for Repair, Renovation & Restoration (RRR) of Water Bodies” has taken up 14228 water bodies for restoration.

This information was given by Shri Harish Rawat, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries in written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today. 

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