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Govt's target is to bring 76 lakh ha under irrigation by 2019: Rajnath

Govts target is to bring 76 lakh ha under irrigation by 2019: Rajnath
The Union government has set a target of bringing more than 76 lakh hectares under irrigation by 2019, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Saturday. "The Union government has set a target to bring more than 76 lakh hectares under irrigation by 2019," he said while speaking at the inaugural session of three-day 2nd Agri-Leadership Summit-2017, which started on Saturday at Surajkund near Faridabad.

Singh said that the central government is working on reducing the input cost so as to make farming profitable. "The government has ensured availability of urea and other fertilisers at lesser rates without any hurdle. The government has also decided to produce neem coated urea for the benefit of farmers.. this urea is required less in quantity and gives higher crop yield by minimising the investment cost," he said while spelling out the pro-farmer initiatives.

Lauding efforts of the Haryana government in the agriculture and allied sector, he said 340 villages of the state are being developed as horticulture villages and a full-fledged Horticulture University is being established. While backing the river-linking projects as proposed under former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he said the government is serious about it and efforts are being made for betterment of the farming community. The government has made a provision of Rs 8,000 crore for the promotion of dairy, poultry, fisheries and allied sector in 2017-18.

Haryana, according to the Union home minister, has taken effective steps so that agriculture could be converted into a "respectable and remunerative" occupation. Terming Haryana as supplying chain to serve population of Delhi and its surrounding areas, Singh said the state has the potential to tap the market and fulfill the needs of customers by providing agriculture and allied products.

"The government is sensitive towards the farming community. The waiving off 60 days of interest on agriculture loan during demonetization period is an example of the government's commitment towards farmers," he said.

Speaking on this occasion, Haryana Agriculture and Farmers Minister O P Dhankar said the state is promoting peri urban agriculture in areas adjoining national capital Delhi and other important cities. Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare S S Ahluwalia and Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal Gujjar were also present.

Singh made an assurance that farmers' income will double by 2022 while terming agriculture as a sunrise sector of the 21st century with ample growth potential. Allaying fears that prospects of agriculture are bleak, the minister maintained that on the contrary, farmers have a bright future.

"Our Prime Minister has already spelt out the vision of doubling farmers' income by 2022 and we will convert that vision into reality," Singh said. The minister also spoke of the challenges faced by farmers with regard to high input costs and a fair price for their produce.

Dispelling the notion that agriculture has no potential and Indian farmers have no future, Singh said: "People like me and many more believe that neither the potential for growth in agriculture has ended nor the future of farmers is bleak."

He corroborated his stand by saying a lot of people around the world have started believing that farming is the only sunrise sector of the country in the 21st century, thanks to the way technology is deployed to increase output.

About the new crop insurance scheme, Singh said the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana will protect farmers from vagaries of monsoon.

The government, he said, has kept the premium for crop insurance at a very low level under this scheme, which would provide income security to farmers in the case of crop losses. The minister pointed to the lack of marketing facilities for farmers to sell their produce. "Our government wants that along with production power, the farmers should also have the pricing power," Singh said.
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