Pawar suggests doubling compensation to Rs. 50,000 for a head of cattle

The Centre has offered to extend a helping hand to the State in the wake of the foot-and-mouth disease. Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Wednesday offered to not only give funds to farmers to purchase new cattle but also suggested that the State double the compensation amount from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 50,000.

“I think the present compensation is inadequate. It is better to double it. We will be able to given adequate funds even if you double the compensation amount,” he told the State government at the inaugural session of a three-day national conference of the Krishi Vigyana Kendras, being jointly organised here by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the University of Agricultural Sciences-Bangalore.

He said technical norms did not provide for giving compensation towards the disease. Hence the Centre would provide funds for purchase of new cattle.

e-Extension centre

Stressing the need for revamping the agricultural extension system to address new challenges, Mr. Pawar said a research institute on ‘e-Extension’ was being set up by the Centre to provide research support for strengthening the extension system.

He said efforts were on to put in place the new system, which would encourage a range of service providers through an appropriate mix of public, private and voluntary funding and delivery mechanisms, besides using latest communication technologies.

Mr. Pawar asked the KVKs to help farmers to form associations for taking up collective bargaining to get remunerative prices for their produce. Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah urged the KVKs to take up the task of capacity building among farmers in marketing skills.

Earlier, Minister of State for Agriculture Krishna Byre Gowda urged the Centre to come out with a regulatory mechanism for monitoring the quality of bio-pesticides. He alleged that the lack of such a mechanism was being misused by some companies, who were cheating farmers by selling spurious produce. “Thirteen of the 25 bio-pesticide samples, which were tested for quality by the State government, had chemical components,” he told Mr. Pawar.

One-time grant

He announced that the Union Agriculture Ministry had recommended a one-time grant of funds to the UAS-B as an incentive after the varsity was adjudged the best agricultural university in the country for the second consecutive year in 2012-13. Pointing out that the recommendation was pending with the Finance Ministry, he appealed to Mr. Pawar to expedite the process. Sources said that the UAS-B had sought a one-time grant of Rs. 100 crore.

Governor H.R. Bhardwaj hailed the UAS-B for its work in teaching, extension and research work. He stressed the need for providing health and educational schemes for farmers and their families.

Awards were presented on the occasion to several KVKs, including the Bangalore Rural KVK, for their outstanding contributions to the extension system.

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