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Chhattisgarh to reward farmers through new scheme

Chattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. File   | Photo Credit: R. V. Moorthy

Farmers in Chhattisgarh would get up to ₹13,000 an acre a year under a new income support programme announced by the State government. The Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyaya Yojana would kick off on Thursday, 19th death anniversary of the former Prime Minister. In the first instalment, ₹1,500 crore would be distributed among 18 lakh farmers, more than 80% of them small and marginal, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel told The Hindu. The annual cost of the scheme would be ₹5,700 crore.

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Mr. Baghel said the scheme would cover rice, maize and sugarcane farmers to begin with, and would expand to other crops later. Rice and maize farmers would get ₹10,000 an acre while sugarcane farmers would get ₹13,000. The money would be distributed in four instalments. “This will help them through the agricultural cycle and hopefully help with extension activities. Chhattisgarh gets more than 50 inches of rain annually, but our irrigation facilities need improvement. Most farmers are able to cultivate only one season. That needs to change.” The additional income to farmers would increase rural demand and also act as a stimulus for the State’s economy, he noted.

Chhattisgarh had paid farmers above the Central Minimum Support Price (MSP) last year but the Centre disapproved of this. The State government was told that if it continued with the incentive, its rice would not be entirely picked up into the central pool. The State’s attempt was to meet the standards set by the Swaminathan Commission that farmers must get 150% of their cost of production as MSP. “We gave ₹2,500 for rice based on that calculation but the Centre would not let us do that,” Mr. Baghel said. The new scheme would compensate the farmers through a different track.

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The injection of cash among the rural population generated demand that shielded Chhattisgarh from the economic slowdown last year. “We are committed to the ensuring that farmers are fairly remunerated. This will reduce distress migration, and enhance food security for the State and the country,” he said.

Fighting COVID-19

On the measures to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, he stated that the State had prepared more than 16,000 quarantine facilities at the village level to take in migrant workers returning from cities in other States.

According to Mr. Baghel, frequent changes announced by the Centre regarding inter-State movement of people had been confusing and unhelpful. “We asked for 43 trains at the beginning. Then we needed concurrence from the State of origin also. Now the Centre has announced 200 trains. If they had done that at the very beginning, things could have been managed far better,” he said.

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The State was paying special attention to keeping the MGNREGA projects running through the lockdown period within the Central regulations. A total ₹548.41 crore was paid to workers under MGNREGA. “Chhattisgarh is generating 23 lakh employment a day under the scheme, which is nearly a quarter of all jobs generated in the country. Around 85% of the MGNREGA job card are active right now ” he observed.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 3:35:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/chhattisgarh-to-reward-farmers-through-new-scheme/article31634231.ece

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