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Assistance to Indian Farmers affected by Floods and Covid-19 Pandemic

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12 February 2021, New Delhi, IN: The State Governments undertake relief measures in the wake of natural disasters, including floods, from the State Disaster Risk Management Fund (SDRMF) already placed at their disposal in accordance with Government of India’s approved items and norms. Additional assistance is extended from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) as per established procedure.

The Central Government, by keeping in view the spread of COVID-19 virus in India and the declaration of COVID-19 as pandemic by the World Health Organization, by way of a special onetime dispensation, has decided to treat it as a notified disaster for the purpose of providing assistance under State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for 2019-20 and 2020-21. Accordingly, Government released the 1st installment of central share of Rs.11,092.00 crore in advance under SDRMF to all the States on 03.04.2020. Subsequently, the 2nd installment of central share has also been released to 17 States amounting to Rs.7866.00 crore. Further, States have been allowed to spend 50% of the amount allocated during the year 2020-21 under SDRMF on COVID-19 management.

As per norms, assistance is inter-alia provided to the farmers in the wake of natural calamities, including floods, in the form of agriculture input subsidy.

Further, during COVID-19 pandemic, the agriculture sector functioned smoothly. All necessary measures were taken to ensure smooth operation of agriculture related activities. Many schemes/programmes were also launched to assist the farmers of the country during the lockdown period, such as:

(i) From 24.03.2020 to 02.02.2021, funds amounting to Rs. 62,301.22 crore have been transferred to the Bank Accounts of PM-KISAN beneficiaries.

(ii) Kisan Rails were operated for the first time from July, 2020 to facilitate movement of perishable Agri-Horticulture commodities.

(iii) Central Sector Scheme of financing facility under Agri Infrastructure Fund. This scheme is operational from the year 2020-21 to 2029-30.The aim is creation of infrastructure at the farm gate.

(iv) The National Bee and Honey Mission (NBHM) – Rs.500 crore from 2020-2021 to 2022-2023 is allocated for the sector.

(v) Concessional credit boost to 2.5 crore farmers through Kisan Credit Card. So far 174.96 lakh Kisan Credit Cards have been issued as part of the KCC saturation drive since February 2020 to 03.02.2021.

(vi) Under Pradhan Mantri Fasal BimaYojana (PMFBY), total claims of Rs.30802.02 crore have been settled for 256.29 lakh farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic from March 2020 to January 2021.

Also Read: National e-Governance Plan in Agriculture (NeGPA): Towards the Mission of Digital Agriculture

(vii) Central Sector Scheme “Supporting Dairy Cooperatives and Farmer Producer Organizations engaged in dairy activities” is operational from 2016-17 with a corpus of Rs. 300 crore to be used for providing soft loans for working capital to enable State Dairy Cooperative Federations to provide a stable market access to farmers. An amount of Rs. 203 crore has been released to National Dairy Development Board till December 2020 for implementation of the scheme during 2020-21. The “interest subvention on working capital loan” with a total outlay of Rs.100 crore for supporting the dairy cooperatives to overcome problems being faced due to COVID 19 has been approved by Government of lndia for FY 2020-21. The budget for 2021-22 is Rs 100 Cr. Under this provision, 2% per annum interest subvention on secured working capital loan shall be provided. For prompt and timely repayment, additional 2% interest subvention will be payable at the end of the loan repayment period.

This information was given in a written reply by the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Mr. Narendra Singh Tomar in Rajya Sabha today.

Photo credit: Domy Kamsyah on / CC BY-NC-ND

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