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Interviews



 
  • Q. What all the Centre had done to provide relief to farmers in case of disaster\drought?

    A. We have revised the norms for providing relief to farmers and extended record amount of financial assistance to states in the past two years. Relief is now being given in case of 33 per cent damage to the crop as against the earlier norm of 50 per cent damage or more. The compensation amount under various heads has also been increased by 50 per cent. It was a historical decision, taken last year at the behest of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Besides, the Centre had approved nearly Rs 9,017 crore as relief to the states affected by drought and hailstrom as against their demand of Rs 42,021 crore in 2014-15 and approved Rs 13,497 crore during 2015-16 crop year as against the demand of Rs 41,722 crore. In contrast, the UPA government had merely approved a relief of Rs 12,516 crore as against the demand of Rs 92,043 crore during four years from 2010-14.
  • Q. Have the disaster/drought-affected farmers actually got the relief amount? Does the Centre's role end after extending financial assistance to states?

    A. Under the Constitution, agriculture is the state subject and it is the states responsibility to disburse the relief amount to affected farmers. We have, however, been in constant touch with district-level officers through dialogue, pushing them not only to disburse the amount to farmers quickly but also to implement the various schemes — Soil Health Cards, Prime Minister Agriculture Irrigation Plan and National Gokul Mission among others — at local level. Many states have been implementing all these schemes quite sincerely. But, few others have not been that successful. It all depends on states' sensitivity towards farmers.
  • Q. Which are those states that have not properly implemented the central schemes?

    A. If you travel from Delhi to Kolkata by train and look outside, you would easily find out that the states (Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal) on the way have not implemented many of the central schemes that successfully as compared to others.
  • Q. In the existing system where "patwari" (local revenue officer) decides the actual beneficiaries, how would you ensure that only the real disaster-hit farmers get relief?

    A. That's the reason why we have been promoting use of technology and drone-based survey to map the affected areas and identify the real affected farmers. The centre is also assisting the states to arm the local agriculture officers with smart phones and other scientific tools to make the farmers aware of all the central schemes and their rights over financial assistance. The direct benefit transfer (DBT), launched by us, will also ensure that the farmers can get quick relief.
  • Q. Many farmers have committed suicides in past two years. It seems the relief does not reach them. How can this unfortunate trend be stopped?

    A. Many farmers took the extreme steps as they had to depend on loans from moneylenders. In case of crop failure, they lost everything. We don't want farmers to trap in such a situation and therefore out government has launched the Prime Minister Crop Insurance Scheme. This is the biggest ever financial support by the central government in crop insurance. Farmers will have to pay lowest ever premium. It will provide them full financial security in case of crop failure. The scheme, which is to be implemented from the Kharif (summer crop) season this year, will cover and disburse relief to even those farmers who are unable to sow\transplant due to bad weather. Mobile and satellite technology will be used for the first time for quick and correct assessment of loss so that farmers can get their claims without any delay.
  • Q. What's the agriculture ministry's view on using genetically modified (GM) crops to increase production and productivity?

    A. It's up to the environment ministry's expert committee to take a call. If the committee clears any such crop for commercial release, taking all safety aspects in mind, the agriculture ministry will merely assist farmers to adopt it for cultivation. We have, in fact, taken measures through price control to protect the interest of farmers cultivating Bt Cotton. We have cut the price of Bt Cotton seeds and slashed the royalty fee so that farmers cannot be exploited by seed companies
  • Q. Why did the agriculture ministry withdraw its May 18 order that laid down the rules for licensing of GM seed technology?

    A. We have withdrawn this order merely to take views of all stakeholders on the licensing issue. The ministry has put the entire draft of the order in public domain, seeking views of farmers, scientists, industries and experts within 90 days. Since this order will decide the licensing issue of GM seed technology of any crop in future, we felt the need to take everyone's views for wider consultations before coming out with a definite policy. I would like to make it clear that this particular order has nothing to do with what we had decided in case of Bt cotton seeds by cutting its price and slashing the royalty fee. That order stands even now without change. That decision was taken, keeping farmers' interests in mind so that they cannot be exploited by the seed companies through arbitrary pricing.
By Vishva Mohan
info@indiagri.in
Interviews

DROUGHT PROOF INDIA

25 Aug 2017


Radha Mohan Singh
Union Agriculture Minister
 

Indroduction
Name : Radha Mohan Singh

Designation : Union Agriculture Minister

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Indroduction
Name : Dr NC Patel

Designation : Vice Chancellor, Anand Agricultural University

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Name : Dr ML Choudhary

Designation : VC, Bihar Agriculture University, Sabour, Bhagalpu

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Name : Sandeep Sabharwal

Designation : CEO, Sohanlal Commodity Management

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Name : Mr. Amit Mehra

Designation : CEO and Founder, Reuters Market Light (RML)

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EDITOR'S NOTE

19 Jan 2016

Crop insurance scheme brings cheers

In view of the growing volatility in the agriculture sector caused by vagaries of nature as well as market fluctuations, it is heartening to see the new Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)