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Maharashtra announces scheme to increase farmers’ income

Mumbai: Amidst demands of farm loan waiver in Maharashtra, the State government has announced ‘Advanced Farming – Enriched Farmer’ scheme, with an aim to increase farmers’ income by cutting production cost and increasing the output.

The scheme will be launched in the upcoming kharif season. Under the initiative, the government has declared each tehsil in the State as a unit where planning will be done for agri-development. The major tasks that would be undertaken are: raising production of major crops (up to the level of its genetic yield potential), diversification of crops, introducing marketing techniques, uniting farmers through farm producers’ companies and making them financially stable.

According to a government resolution published last week, each tehsil, under the scheme, will be given a production target for crops. The target would be planned keeping in mind that farmers, after selling their produce, receive more money than the loan they have obtained. For farmers who are already receiving more money than the loan obtained, the target is 20% more than their present production.

Additionally, the government will also spend 60% of the fund available for mechanisation of farming on tractors, power tillers, transplanters, and machines for polishing, grading, and packing the produce. The grants will be deposited in farmers’ bank accounts linked to Aadhar.

The government has also announced that it would increase grants for construction of green houses, onion shades, and shade nets, among others. A farmer outreach campaign will also be launched from May 25 to June 8, to inform farmers about the techniques to be used in agriculture ahead of the kharif season.

The Opposition has been aggressively demanding farm loan waiver since the beginning of the Budget Session of the State Assembly in March. The major Opposition parties — the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) — are presently touring the State under Sangharsh Yatra to press for their demand.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said that while his government wants to waive off the loan, a decision effecting the same will be taken only at “the right time” and not based on the Opposition’s demands. He has also said the State government would invest more in agriculture rather than announcing a loan waiver. State Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, in his Budget speech last month, had also said that the government aims to double farmers’ income by 2022.

Source: The Hindu

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