The hill State of Himachal with more than 90 percent people living in rural areas is currently planning an expansion and diversification in agriculture. The State is laying a special emphasis on diary farming and fishery nowadays.
Realising the role of livestock in agrarian economy, the State government has launched Rs 300 crore ‘Doodh Ganga’ scheme which has extensive provision for formation of self-help groups, liberal loan disbursals and some other incentives.
A government spokesman on Sunday claimed that a special emphasis is being laid on the health of cattle, improving livestock breed and strengthening the marketing infrastructure. The scheme will benefit 50,000 rural families with the formation of 10,000 self-help groups. In the last two years, a sum of Rs. 127 crore has been spent on various animal husbandry schemes, he said.
The ‘Shepherd Insurance Scheme,’ sponsored by the Central Wool Development Board, has also been launched. Against the target of 15,000 shepherds to be covered under the scheme, 8,000 have already been insured. So far, 11.2 lakh heads of cattle have been registered under this scheme.
In order to encourage pisciculture, several varieties of fish have been introduced in the rivers and artificial and natural reservoirs in the State.
All fishermen working in reservoirs have been insured for Rs. 25,000 in case of permanent disability; and Rs. 50,000 in case of death under the ‘Fisherman Accidental Insurance Scheme.’ The insurance premium of Rs 14 is equally shared by the Central and the State Governments. Insurance cover was provided to 6,560 active fishermen in the year 2008-09, informed the spokesman.
The State has launched the Fishermen Relief Fund Scheme, formulated to mitigate the losses to the fishermen. Each reservoir fisherman contributes Rs 6 every year to this fund. A Contributory Saving-cum-Relief Scheme has also been introduced for fishermen under which as many as 2,446 active fishermen have been provided benefits to the tune of Rs. 13 lakh. More than 6795 fishermen have been provided full-time employment in major reservoirs of the State.
In last two years, 10,239 tonnes of fish has been produced earning the exchequer a revenue of Rs 282.14 lakh, he said.