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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Gujarat govt hikes relief package for crop loss to Rs 3,795 crore

The package also covers those farmers who have taken crop insurance under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY). When clarity was sought on the issue, Punamchand Parmar, Additional Chief Secretary told The Indian Express, “Farmers who are insured will also get the benefit.”

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published: November 24, 2019 11:41:18 am
monsoon, monsoon india, monsoon in india, rain, imd, weather forecast, crops, maharashtra, farming, drought, maharashtra drought, sowing, sowing season, cotton, soyabean, pune news, indian express news The state government earlier had declared an aid of Rs 700 crore, which was termed as “inadequate” by farmers’ bodies. (Express Archive/ Representational)

Announcing one of the biggest relief packages for crop loss in Gujarat, the state government on Saturday jacked up financial aid to farmers hit by unseasonal rain during the last one month by over 440 per cent to Rs 3,795 crore. This package covers all the 56.36 lakh farmers in 18,369 villages of the state.

Earlier, the state government had declared an aid of Rs 700 crore, which was termed as “inadequate” by farmers’ bodies.

“On Friday evening, after a detailed meeting with Chief Minister Vijay Rupani at his bungalow, it was decided to approve Rs 3,795 crore relief package for farmers affected by unseasonal rain between October 15 and November 20, 2019. The unseasonal rain that happened during this period caused post-harvest loss to the farmers… The central government will be providing Rs 2,154 crore grant under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF), while Rs 1,641 crore will come from the state’s budget… It is for the first time that all the farmers in all the villages of Gujarat is getting a relief,” said Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel while addressing mediapersons at the circuit house here.

EXPLAINED

Unseasonal rain effect

When Gujarat resumed procurement of kharif produce, especially groundnuts based on MSP, earlier this week, it encountered a higher rate of rejection, as farm produce were damaged by unseasonal rain triggered by back-to-back cyclones that brushed past the Gujarat coast. The rain had forced the government to suspend all procurement for a fortnight at the beginning of this month. With many farmers left with rain-drenched produce at the end of kharif season and opposition Congress trying to take political advantage of it, especially in Saurashtra, and with groups such as Bharatiya Kisan Sangh blaming the state government for its lackadaisical attitude, the government, it is learnt, had no choice but to increase the package and widen the scope of those covered.

“When the package of Rs 700-crore was declared, we had said that the survey of the crop damage was underway and that the assistance would be decided later,” Patel said.

The package covers all the farmers in the state including those who did not clock any losses in their farms. The package also covers those farmers who have taken crop insurance under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY). When clarity was sought on the issue, Punamchand Parmar, Additional Chief Secretary told The Indian Express, “Farmers who are insured will also get the benefit.”

The Indian Express had already reported that a phenomenal Rs 3,400 crore has been paid as insurance premium to four insurance companies during the Kharif season 2019. This includes Rs 400 crore premium directly paid by an estimated Rs 19 lakh farmers and an additional Rs 3,000 crore which has been paid on behalf of the farmers by the state and central governments.

Bifurcating the relief package, Patel said there were 28.61 lakh farmers in 9,416 villages of 125 talukas of 29 districts who will get a total of Rs 2,481 crore as relief. These farmers fall in regions where more than one inch rain was recorded during the last one month. Under the SDRF norms, these farmers will be given Rs 6,800 per hectare, up to a maximum of two hectares. Of the Rs 2,481 crore, the central government will pay Rs 1,860 crore and the state will provide the remaining Rs 621 crore.

In addition, there are 4.7 lakh farmers in 1,463 villages of 42 talukas of 23 districts where the automatic weather stations located in clusters of agriculture department recorded more than one inch rainfall. All farmers who fall in this region will get a total relief of Rs 392 crore (Rs 294 crore will come from central government and remaining from state government) where each farmer will get Rs 6,800 per hectare, up to two a maximum of two hectares as per the SDRF norms. In the same 42 talukas, the remaining 1,675 villages where less than one inch rainfall was recorded, a total of 5.95 lakh farmers will get Rs 238 crore relief (from the state government’s budget) wherein each farmer will be paid Rs 4,000.

“In the remaining 21 districts, which comprises 81 talukas and 5,814 villages, it has come to our notice that scattered rainfall has caused some losses. So, we have decided to cover all the remaining 17.10 lakh farmers who will be paid a total of Rs 684 crore (from the state government’s budget), with each farmer getting Rs 4,000… We have also included farmers who have not clocked any losses and this is the first time our government is giving the relief to all farmers of all the villages of the state,” Patel added.

Only three talukas, covering Ahmedabad, Surat and Junagadh cities are not part of this package. The deputy chief minister said the details of all the farmers will be taken online and money will be paid directly through RTGS into their bank accounts.

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