Punjab to provide subsidy on cotton seeds, agri implements

Chandigarh/January 22
Punjab government on Wednesday asked the Agriculture department to work out the modalities for giving subsidized seeds, certified pesticides and agro-chemicals to the Cotton growers under the flagship program of crop diversification.
Punjab’s Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal said that besides facilitating the farmers of the region, the subsidy on cotton seeds, pesticides and agro-chemicals will help the state government in enhancing the area currently under the cotton cultivation and instructed asked the Agriculture department to evolve a strategy for ensuring that only the genuine beneficiaries could avail this scheme.
Badal also approved to enhance the existing limit of purchasing the farm equipments by the Primary Agriculture Centers (PACs) run by Cooperative Societies from existing Rs 10 lakh to 15 lakh in a bid to curtail the huge expenditure meted out by the farmers on agriculture implements. He also gave approval for increasing the subsidy on the purchase of such implements by PACs, for giving it to the farmers on custom hiring basis, from prevalent 33 percent to 50 percent with a maximum cap of Rs 6 lakh. Badal also asked the Cooperative department to initiate a project of setting up two such centers for the landless farmers in every district across the state on pilot basis.
To promote the state’s flagship program of crop diversification in the right earnest, Badal today gave nod for setting up an expert panel to rationalize the prevalent subsidies in the agriculture sector to benefit the farmers across the state. A decision to this effect was taken by the Chief Minister in a high level meeting held under his Chairmanship to review the performance of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry departments here at his residence.
Showing concern over the less allocation of funds by the Union government to improve the lot of villages in general and farmers in particular, the Chief Minister underlined the need to streamline subsidies to enable the beneficiaries to reap maximum benefits from them on one hand and put the crop diversification program on a strong pedestal.
Badal said that the expert panel headed by Chairman of Punjab State Farmer’s Commission Dr. GS Kalkatt would meticulously examine the existing subsidies given to the farmers for the mechanization of agriculture and supplying pesticides to genuinely benefit the farmers. He also asked the Committee to submit its report within a fortnight to enable the state government for disbursing subsidies in a rationalized manner.
In order to encourage crop diversification in the state, the Chief Minister also gave nod to install small Maize dryers in the grain markets across the state so as to facilitate the small and marginal farmers for selling their produce at remunerative prices. He also asked the Agriculture Department to promote the Maize farming in the traditional Maize belt of the state so as to reduce the area currently under water intensive paddy crop. Mr. Badal said that it was the need of the hour to give fillip to the crop diversification program in the state by enhancing the area under alternative crops like Maize, Cotton, Sugarcane, Soyabean, Pulses and others.
The Chief Minister also asked the Animal Husbandry Department to formulate a time bound action plan for providing quality breed of cows and buffaloes to the farmers to boost Dairying in the state. He also asked the department to set up exclusive breeding farms in the state for preserving the pedigree of traditional cows and buffaloes in the state. In a bid to provide the facility of artificial insemination along with free veterinary service to the farmers at their doorsteps, Badal also gave a go ahead for implementing the Integrated Buffalo Development Corporation (IBDC) Program across the state by setting up 800 more centers across the state.
Prominent amongst those who attended the meeting included Chairman Punjab State Farmer’s Commission Dr GS Kalkatt, Financial Commissioner Development Suresh Kumar, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister SK Sandhu, Financial Commissioner Animal Husbandry G Vajralingam, Special Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Gaggandip Singh Brar, MD MILKFED Alaknanda Dyaal, Special Secretary Cooperation Kanwalpreet Kaur Brar, Director Agriculture Mangal Singh and Director Animal Husbandry HS Sandha.