The State government will start paying a royalty of ₹2,000 per hectare to owners of cultivable paddy land from this year as an encouragement to them to retain the fields for paddy cultivation.
The government has earmarked ₹40 crore for the project from the ₹118.24 crore set aside in the 2020-21 State Budget for the integrated development of paddy cultivation.
Owners of paddy fields could apply for the royalty from September 11, Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar said on Wednesday. Owners of fields currently under paddy cultivation are eligible for the royalty.
Paddy fields where pulses, vegetables, sesame and groundnuts are grown as part of the crop cycle too are eligible. In the case of paddy fields lying fallow, the owners will be eligible for the royalty provided they gave an undertaking that cultivation would be revived either by them or through other farmers or agencies.
However, if the land in question continues to lie fallow for three consecutive years they will lose their eligibility. The applications for the royalty should be filed online on www.aims.kerala.gov.in. The applications should be accompanied by the following documents — tax receipt for the current year/possession certificate, identification such as Aadhaar card, voter’s ID, driving licence and PAN card. The land owners can also approach the Akshaya Centres for filing the application.
Over the past several decades, land under paddy cultivation in Kerala has been on the decline. However, the government had been able to check the trend over the past four years, Mr. Sunil Kumar said. Production had risen by 2 lakh tonnes over this period, he said.