Govt guidelines to boost agriculture amid coronavirus lockdown 2.0

RSTV Bureau
File Photo: Farmer

File Photo: Farmer

Agriculture Ministry took several measures to facilitate the farmers and farming activities at field level during the lockdown period.

Following exemptions were given by Government of India for agricultural operations keeping in view the harvesting and sowing season:

-Agencies engaged in procurement of agriculture products, including MSP operations;
-Farming operations by farmers and farmworkers in the field;
-‘Mandis’ operated by the Agriculture Produce Market Committee or as notified by the State Government;
-‘Mandis’ include direct marketing, facilitated by the State Government/UT Administration, directly from the farmers/groups of farmers. FPOs, Cooperatives, etc;
-Shops for Seeds, Fertilisers and Pesticides;
-Manufacturing and packaging units of Seeds, Fertilisers and Pesticides;
-Custom Hiring Centres (CHC) related to farm machinery;
-Intra and inter-state movement of harvesting and sowing related machines like combined harvester and other agriculture/ horticulture implements;
-Cold storage and warehousing services;
-Manufacturing units of packaging material for food items;
-Transportation for essential goods;
-Shops of agriculture machinery, its spare parts (including its supply chain) and repairs.
-The tea industry, including plantation with a maximum of 50% workers.

The Agriculture Minister along with Ministers of State (Agriculture) formally launched the All India Agri Transport Call Centre today. This Call Centre has been set up for coordination between States for inter-state movement of perishables like vegetables & fruits, Agri inputs like seeds, pesticides and fertilizer etc. The Call Centre numbers are 18001804200 and 14488. These numbers are accessible from any mobile or landline phones.

Truck drivers, traders, retailers, transporters or any other stakeholders who are facing problems in inter-state movement of above commodities, may seek help by calling at the Call Centre. Call Center Executives will forward the vehicle & consignment details along with the help needed, to State Govt. officials for resolution of issues.

Under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme during the lockdown period from 24.3.2020, about 8.46 crore farmer have been benefitted and an amount of Rs. 16,927 crore has been released so far.

Under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PM-GKY) about 5516 MT of pulses has been dispatched for delivery to the States/UTs.

Railways introduced 67 routes for running 236 Parcel Specials (out of which 171 are time table parcel trains) to supply essential commodities including perishable horticultural produce, agricultural inputs viz. seed, fertilizer and pesticides, milk and dairy products at a fast speed which will facilitate farmers/FPOs/traders and companies for continuity of supply chain across the country. The railways have established regular connectivity between major cities of the country and from State Headquarters to all parts of the State. A video conference was held with Railway Board, MoFPI and States on 11.4.2020.

The validity of star rating certification of accredited nurseries extended by NHB to 30th Sept 2020 to ensure availability of quality planting material to farmers.

Migratory beekeeping was facilitated by requesting states to allow intra and interstate movement.

Under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), insurance claims amounting to Rs.2424 crores have been disbursed to the beneficiary farmers in 12 states in the country.

The due date for conversion of Agri-Gold Loan and other Agri Account into KCC Account was 31.03.2020. In view of difficulties posed by COVID-19 pandemic, the due date has been extended up to 31.05.2020 with a commensurate extension of Interest Subvention (IS) and Prompt Repayment Incentive (PRI) benefit against such account till 31.05.2020.

The decision has been taken (on 30.03.2020) for providing 2% Interest Subvention (IS) to Banks and 3% Prompt Repayment Incentive (PRI) to farmers for the extended period of repayment of loans up to 31.05.2020 or date of actual repayment date whichever is earlier, for short terms crop loan up to Rs.3 lakh per farmers given by Banks @ 7% p.a., which have become due or shall become due between 1st March 2020 and 31st May 2020.

The Kisan Credit Card (KCC) saturation drive has been initiated by DAC&FW in collaboration with the Department of Financial Services to cover all PM- KISAN beneficiaries. So far 83 lakh applications received out of which 18.26 lakh applications have been sanctioned for a loan amount of Rs. 17,800 cr.

During Rabi season 2020, NAFED has procured 1,24,125 MT Pulses and Oilseeds on MSP totalling of Rs. 606.52 crore. This has benefitted 91,710 farmers.

The module of Uberisation of logistics aggregator has been recently launched on e-NAM Platform. More than 7.76 lakh trucks and 1.92 lakh transporters are already linked to this module.

APEDA has put in a lot of efforts and issues related to transportation, curfew passes, packaging units are being resolved. Exports of all major products i.e rice, groundnut, processed food, meat, poultry, dairy and organic products have started.

India had a good crop of wheat, in surplus of its own demand. On specific demand from countries, NAFED has exported 50,000 MT wheat to Afghanistan and 40,000 MT wheat to Lebanon under G2G arrangement.

Flexible approach adopted: digital copies of Phyto Sanitary Certificates being accepted with an undertaking from the importer for submission of original when received. A similar process for exports is also followed and SOP for the same has been issued.

A total of 9,759 Phyto Sanitary Certificates were issued for export and 2,728 consignments were released for imports.

The validation of pack houses, rice mills, processing units, treatment facilities, fumigation agencies, PEQ facilities etc. which have expired in the lockdown period due to COVID-19 situation has been extended.

Further, 33 Import Permits for import of pesticides, 309 certificates for export of pesticides and 1,324 certificates to facilitate Indigenous manufacturer of pesticides were issued.

The All India Seed Requirement and Availability of Kharif-2020 is circulated to different stakeholders, Breeder Seed Allocation of Kharif-2020 and Breeder Seed Indent of Kharif-2021 is finalized during this period. During this lockdown period, 2.70 Lakh quintals seed of cereals, millets, pulses etc was moved and 42.50 Lakh cotton seed packets were also moved in Northern India especially for Haryana and Punjab.