Govt to Launch Grand Irrigation, Insurance Plans: Agri Minister - The New Indian Express

Govt to Launch Grand Irrigation, Insurance Plans: Agri Minister

Published: 28th May 2014 05:01 PM

Last Updated: 28th May 2014 05:01 PM

NEW DELHI: The government will launch a nation-wide rural irrigation programme and an insurance scheme to protect farmers' income, new Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh announced today after assuming office.

Stating that only 44 per cent of the cultivable land is under irrigation as of now, he said the government will launch an irrigation scheme, 'Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sinchayee Yojana'. This was promised in the BJP manifesto.

Singh said the government is prepared to tackle any eventuality in case of bad monsoon and it has already sent advisories to all state governments.

"I held a meeting with ministry officials today and we have decided that we will bring 'Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sinchayee Yojana' similar to Grameen Sadak Yojana. We have also decided to bring an insurance scheme to ensure income to farmers," he told reporters.

The minister said the insurance scheme will be launched after determining the average income of farmers in the last 5-7 years. The Centre will bear the burden of premium for insurance of average income, he added.

"Farmers will take interest in agriculture only when their investment is guaranteed," Singh said, but did not give any time-frame to launch these two schemes.

He also stressed on conserving the indigenous breed of cows and said the ministry will bring a scheme for this purpose.

The government will soon take a decision on the proposal on fixing the minimum support price (MSP) of kharif crops, he said, adding the long-term plan is to fix the MSP at 50 per cent more than the cost of production.

Singh promised to review the Agriculture Produce arketing Committee Act (APMC) and co-operative laws.

Regretting the fact that only two central agriculture universities exist in the country at present, he said the number will be increased to strengthen agri-research.

Asked about GM crops, Singh said GM technology would be adopted only if it is "very very necessary".

On price rise, the new minister said: "The NDA government had kept prices under control during its six-year rule between 1998-2004".

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