Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Radha Mohan Singh said that his Government is making all efforts to double farmer incomes in next five years. Agriculture Minister said this in a live interview on My GovIndia, here. She Singh said that nothing substantial was done for the farmers so far but his Government has changed the perception and working with great commitments towards farmers welfare.
Shri Singh said that Central Government has increased the budget from Rs. 15809 crore to Rs. 35,984 crore for agriculture and farmers welfare. Rs. 500 crore has been provided for the development of pulses and Rs. 850 crore has been provided for increasing milk production. Shri Singh said that amount has been released to the states in time for different agricultural plans.
While answering the question put up regarding the utility of Soil Health Cards, the Minister said that Soil Health Cards have been issued to 2 crore farmers so far. Shri Singh said that 146 lakh samples are to be collected by the year 2016-17 from which 8.07 crore cards will be prepared. The Minister said that Soil Health Card is the basis of soil fertility and farm productivity but, in some states its progress is quite slow.
While answering a question on National Agricultural Market, the Minister said that e-mandis at national level have been established for providing remunerative price to the farmers for their produce and it is being widely publicized. The Minister said that at present 21 mandis of 8 states are engaged in the sale and purchase of 25 commodities and so far 23,000 farmers have been linked with it. Shri Singh said that for linking with e-mandi, 365 proposals from 12 states have been received. and by March 2018, 585 mandis will be connected to it. Shri Singh said that at present many restrictions have been imposed on the transport and sale and purchase of the agriculture produce and the rate of tariff is different in various mandis within the state. Shri Singh mentioned that 17 states have made reform in their mandi laws.
While answering the question put up on e-mandi from Patna City, Shri Singh said that it is a matter of misfortune that there are no mandi laws in Bihar and Kerala and farmers are suffering on account of this. The Minister hoped that states would make necessary reforms in their mandi rules so that National Agriculture Market can be made successful in the interest of the farmers.
While answering a question on crop insurance, Agriculture and farmers Welfare Minister said that there were so many discrepancies in the crop insurance schemes till now. But, these discrepancies have been removed in Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. Shri Singh said that the rates of premium have been kept very low for the insurance of the crops. It is maximum 2% for Kharif, 1½% maximum for Rabi and 5% maximum for commercial crops. Shri Singh said that in the new schemes, arrangements have been made for compensating the farmers in the event of crop failure. Changes have been made in the norms of calamity relief also. Earlier compensation was given in the event of 50% loss but now, it has been decreased to 33%. Now, compensation is given for the loss on account of natural calamities even after 14 days of harvest. The Minister said that it was very much time consuming to get compensation but now, smart phone and drone are being used and compensation is being given within a month.
While answering a question regarding Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchaye Yojana, Shri Singh said that the aim of this scheme is Har Khet Ko Paani. The Minister said that 89 medium and macro irrigation projects are pending for the last 15-20 years. These will be completed in the next 5 years and 23 projects out of 89 will be completed by 17th March, 2017. 23 irrigation projects include the projects of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.