Govt gives Rs 288-cr subsidy on seeds

Written by fe Bureaus | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 27 2009, 05:11am hrs
The newly constituted high-level empowered group of ministers on drought on Tuesday decided to give a subsidy of Rs 288 crore to farmers to fight drought.

The government has decided to distribute good quality seeds in time to farmers and has stepped up the subsidy by Rs 288 crore, which will be directly reflected in the pricing of seeds," finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters after the first meeting of the eGoM.

Sources said the meeting is also believed to have discussed extending the diesel subsidy scheme for drought-hit farmers beyond the current expiry date of September 30.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had constituted an empowered group of ministers under the chairmanship of finance minister Pranab Mukherjee to assess and monitor on a regular basis the situation arising out of drought.

The other members of the group are agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, home minister P Chidambaram, railways minister Mamata Banerjee, power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, urban development minister Jaipal Reddy, petroleum minister Murli Deora, rural development and panchayati raj minister CP Joshi, water resources minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

Meanwhile, sources said agriculture minister Sharad Pawar has written a letter to all MPs to sanction around 20% of the funds under the MPLAD scheme for drought relief.