Thursday, September 20, 2012
Report by India Education bureau; Shimla: Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister was conferred upon Agriculture Leadership Award-2012 for major policy initiatives and launching innovative programmes in agriculture, horticulture and Animal Husbandry sector in the State under his leadership.
The Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr. Harish Rawat presented the Award to him at New Delhi last evening in a function organised by the “Agriculture Today” in collaboration with Govt. of India, Ministry of Rural Development, Earth Sciences and Food Processing.
The decision to confer Award to Prof. Dhumal was taken in the Organising Committee of Agriculture Leadership Awards-2012 which met at New Delhi under the chairmanship of Prof. M.S. Swami Nathan, Father of India’s Green Revolution.
The Award has been conferred to the Chief Minister taking into consideration the strong performance on policy initiatives leading to better management of farm resources, crop diversification under Horticulture Technology Mission (HTM), revival of apple economy through policy interventions, marketing support programmes for F&V, promotion of organic agriculture, launch of soil health card scheme and substantial enhanced budget allocations resulting into State achieving sustainable enhanced growth in diversified agriculture production which have enhanced returns from farming and impacted the rural economy of the State positively.
Addressing the gathering of Agriculture Scientists and Technologists on the occasion, Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal stressed the need of extending their research from laboratories to the field. He called upon them to innovate environment-friendly technologies that would increase Agriculture Production without disturbing the environment. He said that the State Government had taken various initiatives to achieve inclusive growth in agriculture sector during last four and half years which included Rs. 353 crore ‘Pandit Deen Dayal Kisan Baagwan Samridhi Yojna’ under which 12500 poly houses covering an area of 11 lakh square meter, have been constructed and 12500 hectare area was brought under micro irrigation.
He said that 80 percent subsidy was being given to farmers for raising poly-houses as a result of which the farm income had increased manifold and on-farm employment was provided to 50,000 persons. He said that the State had achieved record vegetable production of 13.50 lakh tonnes worth Rs. 2250 crore, a significant contribution to the GDP. The Government has also approved second phase of this scheme for Rs. 190 crores.
He said that in Himachal Pradesh through a slew of policy initiative and programmes and substantial jump in budget allocations at 11.9 percent of State’s total plan had put the State agriculture, horticulture and animal husbandry sector on a rapid growth track. Chief Minister said that the State Government had amended the Himachal Pradesh Agriculture and Horticulture Produce Marketing Act, 2005 ensuring farmer’s choices and better prices of their produce. To boost the organic agriculture in the State, the State Organic Farming Policy, 2011 has been implemented making State Organic Certification Agency Operational, which has significantly reduced the cost of organic certification for the farmers, besides bringing the soil testing services under Himachal Pradesh Service Guarantee Act, issuing a high of 5.90 lakh soil health cards.
Chief Minister said that Rs 321 crore, Crop Diversification Project with the help of Japanese Agency and also bringing all the major commercial crops under crop Insurance Scheme with substantial increase in the subsidy from 10 percent to 50 percent. He said that Agriculture loans upto 10 lakhs had been exempted from stamp and registration charges. Tacavi and soil conservation loans of 43,485 farmers which were due since 1950-60 amounting to Rs. 4.95 crore have also been waived off.
Besides, Doodh Ganga Yojna and Mukhya Mantri Arogya Pashu Dhan Yojna and Bhed Palak Samridhi Yojna with 33 percent subsidy scheme have been started to make animal husbandry a lucrative activity and thus, improving the rural economy, he said.
The Chief Minister said that in order to provide strong marketing infrastructure Rs. 100 crores ‘Modern Fruit and Vegetable Market’ was being set up at Parala in Shimla and similar market of Rs. 100 crores was being set up at Una in order to provide efficient marketing infrastructure and added that with the coming up of these markets, producers of fruits and vegetables will be benefited a lot as they have not to go outside State markets for sale of their produce.
Prof. Dhumal said that there was a strong need of diversifying Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Schemes in a big way in order to provide self-employment to rural youth at their own villages and thus reduce migration of rural population to urban areas for earning their livelihood.
Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal strongly opposed the F.D.I. (Foreign Direct Investment) in retail policy of Central Government as this will give rise to problems in Domestic market and badly affect the small businessmen.
Dr. M.J. Khan, Chief Editor, Agriculture Today congratulated the recipients of Awards and expressed thanks to Prof. M.S. Swami Nathan under whose Chairmanship the approval for finalizing the list of awardees was given.
Mr. P. Mitra, Principal Secretary Agriculture, Himachal Pradesh, Senior Officers of Central and State Governments, National level Experts, Progressive farmers, Non-Govt. organizations, media and social Leaders engaged in Agriculture field have attended the function.