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Agriculture secretary slams states for slow implementation of central schemes

Agriculture secretary Shobhana K Pattanayak on Thursday slammed the state governments for slow pace of implementation of the Centre’s three flagship schemes — Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), issuance of soil health cards to farmers and integration of 585 regulated mandis under a common electronic National Agriculture Market (NAM).

By: | New Delhi | Published: September 16, 2016 6:40 AM
According to agriculture ministry sources, more than three crore farmers were to be enrolled under crop insurance schemes in the ongoing kharif season. (Source: PTI)

Agriculture secretary Shobhana K Pattanayak on Thursday slammed the state governments for slow pace of implementation of the Centre’s three flagship schemes — Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), issuance of soil health cards to farmers and integration of 585 regulated mandis under a common electronic National Agriculture Market (NAM).

He urged the state governments to take keen interest in implementation of these schemes which would help boost farmers’ income.

On the slow pace of implementation of PMFBY and Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS), Pattanayak said many states are yet to give a clear picture about the extent of coverage of these revamped crop insurance schemes in the ongoing kharif season.

Besides, he said, there were major disputes regarding the areas identified for crop insurance cover between the states and insurance companies.

“The states must commence preparation for rolling out crop insurance for the forthcoming rabi crops by issuing necessary tender by end of this month for identification of insurance companies for implementation of crop insurance scheme,” Pattanayak said at the national conference on agriculture for rabi crops (2016-17).

As reported by FE on Thursday, as per preliminary data from the agriculture ministry, out of the 2.53 crore farmers enrolled so far with PMFBY and WBCIS in the ongoing kharif season, majority of the farmers belong to nine states — Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

According to agriculture ministry sources, more than three crore farmers were to be enrolled under crop insurance schemes in the ongoing kharif season.

In case of slow pace of sample collection for soil health cards meant for farmers, Pattanayak said “in the last one and half years, only 200 lakh soil samples had been collected by states while in the next six months another 50 lakh soil samples have to be collected which looks a difficult task”.

He said wherever soil samples have been collected, there has been inordinate delay issuance of soil health cards to farmers. The agriculture secretary asked states like Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Maharashtra and UP to speed up issuance of soil health cards.

Last year, agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh had said within the next three years, all the estimated 14 crore farmers across the country will have soil health cards.

On the delay in setting up electronic National Agriculture Market (NAM), Pattanayak said only few states, including Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan have joined NAM platform aimed at facilitating better price discovery for the farmers.

However, he said as long as all the markets across states are not linked on a common platform, farmers would not get benefit for better prices for agricultural produce. “We need to include more commodities into NAM for trading,” he said.

The agriculture ministry had aimed at integrating 200 markets in NAM by September 2016. However, till now only 67 markets have been integrated with NAM.

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Earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched NAM across 21 mandis in eight states —Telangana (5), Uttar Pradesh (5), Gujarat (3), Haryana (2), Himachal Pradesh (2), Jharkhand (2), Madhya Pradesh (1), Rajasthan (1) which envisages states to provide single trade licence to a trader for reduction of transaction cost of commodities.

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