With 64 per cent districts in the country recording less than normal rainfall this monsoon,the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on Tuesday announced a 50 per cent diesel subsidy scheme for the farmers to help them save the standing kharif crop through irrigation. It also approved enhancing the subsidy on the seeds of alternative crops under contingency plans.
The EGoM cleared a relief package of Rs 1,440 crore towards watershed development-related efforts in Karnataka,Maharashtra,Gujarat and Rajasthan that are particularly reeling under deficient monsoon and where around 56 lakh hectares of farmland are estimated to go uncultivated.
Besides,around Rs 500 crore was approved for meeting drinking water-related challenges in these states.
The EGoM has decided to release Rs 1,440 crore to these states under integrated watershed programme for drought proofing, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar announced after chairing the EgoM meeting.
Pawar announced that the diesel subsidy would be borne equally by the state governments and the farmers. Districts that have received 50 per cent deficient rainfalls can avail this facility. The EGoM agenda notes suggested that the total subsidy burden would be around Rs 1,260 crore.
Pawar announced to increase the subsidy amount on seeds of cereals from Rs 500 a quintal to Rs 700 per quintal,while that of pulses and oilseeds would be enhanced from Rs 1,200 per quintal to Rs 2,000 per quintal. The government has prepared contingency plans for 320 districts.
Briefing the media,Pawar also announced to waive the duty on import of certain items to increase the availability of feed ingredients for animal husbandry sector needs.
Admitting that the deficient monsoon might hit the kharif output,which includes pulses,he said the EGoM had asked the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to come out a with a scheme for subsidised pulses scheme through PDS.