Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Tuesday said that the government was committed to increasing the income of farmers and give a boost to the allied sectors. "We are committed to increasing farmers' income and at the same time input cost has to be brought down," the Minister said. He was interacting with regional editors from north and north-eastern States on the concluding day of a two-day conference organised by Press Information Bureau here on Tuesday.
He also lashed out at the previous UPA government, claiming they had slept over the issue of soil health cards to farmers and did not take it seriously. Singh said Rs 568 crore provision was made for issuing soil health cards to 14 crore farmers in the country.
"By next year all farmers will be given soil health cards, and they will know which fertiliser has to be used, because we have seen in some cases blind use of fertiliser affects soil fertility," he said. He also said the Modi government had taken steps to prevent black marketing of urea.
The government gives Rs 50,000 crore subsidy on urea. He said that earlier 30 per cent urea used to find its way illegally into chemical factories, resulting in shortage in many parts of the country. "Now, urea is being Neem quoted, as a result it has prevented from misuse rendering it for use only by farmers," he said. Singh said that DAVP and potash fertilisers prices have also come down for the first time.
"Another thing which is important is creating good market for farmers produce," he said. The Electronic National Agriculture Market or eNAM, a key initiative of the Modi government to improve farm incomes, has surpassed its target by bringing 250 wholesale markets on to the platform, he said. "Our target is to link 585 mandis by December 2017," he informed. The Government was working to give a boost to allied sectors like dairy, fisheries, bee keeping and organic farming, the Minister said.
Singh also claimed that India s kharif harvest will be the highest ever in history this year. "The kharif harvest targeted this year will break records, after 131 million tonne kharif production in 2011-12, it is set to touch 135.03 million tonnes this year," he said, adding last year's figure was 124 million tonne.
Rice production this year has been targeted at 94 million tonne as against record of 92 mt in 2011-12, Singh pointed out. Radha Mohan Singh also said Government had taken steps to insulate farmers from calamities and natural disasters and also hiked the budgetary amount for relief.