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Haryana will soon open 2,000 multi-brand retail outlets to ensure that farmers can sell their produce as traders, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said on Sunday, July 19.
The CM said that through the cooperative department, the state government is coming out with a new brand 'Harit', under which the retail outlets will be set up. These outlets, to be opened in cities and villages, will not only have products from the state's own brand Vita, but also items from other states like dairy products, fruit juices, bottled water, and items prepared from Self Help Groups, among others.
At these outlets, which will function as mini-super markets, the youth of the village and town will work according to their abilities and skills. In addition to this, the state is also planning launch potable mineral water under brand name 'Haryana Fresh' through the Public Health Engineering Department.
The CM was speaking on two new ordinances - Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 - introduced by the Union government.
Slamming those who are trying to "mislead the peasants" on this, Khattar said that the initiatives were in the interests of farmers. He added that some vested groups were trying to spread "disinformation" on the ordinances and mislead the farmers.
"All new initiatives taken by the central government and the state government during the last six years are in the interest of farmers. With these two new ordinances, a farmer can sell his produce not only in his state but also in the mandis of other states. Thus, under the contract farming, he can enter into an e- agreement with any person or bank for his farm produce. Besides, now he will not be required to mortgage his land with the bank for the crop loan," Khattar was quoted by The Indian Express.
"In the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package announced by the Central government recently, Rs 1 lakh crore has been kept for agricultural infrastructure, including warehouses and agro-based industries. Schemes are being chalked out to ensure that farmers of Haryana get the maximum benefit from this package," the CM added.
He further said that the state government has decided to hire 17,000 Kisan Mitras, who will voluntarily advise the farmers on effective utilisation of land and assist in better financial management. He added that the recent steps come as an effort to realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of doubling the farmers' income by 2022.
The CM said that for the last two years, minimum support price (MSP) is declared before the sowing of crops, which enables the farmer to sow the crop accordingly. However, some people are trying to "mislead" that the MSP system will be scrapped, he added.
While the government would continue buying the crop in the mandis at MSP, if the farmer gets price more than the MSP outside, the farmer can sell his crop at a higher price. The gap in the price of the crop would be compensated under the Bhavantar Bharpayee Yojana.
"These things are in the interests of farmers. It will also golden opportunity for farmers to explore markets. Even Arhitiyas (Commission Agents) can make agreement with farmers acting as purchaser of the farmers' produce," the CM said.
Talking about his government's "Mera Pani Meri Virasat" crop diversification scheme, which aims at water conservation, Khattar said that as opposed to the target of sowing alternate crops on 1 lakh hectares of land, farmers have already diversified to other crops over 1.18 lakh hectares.
"Government had targeted sowing other water-efficient crops in place of paddy in one lakh hectare area. The farmers understood the importance of the scheme and have so far made registrations for 1,18,128 hectare area on Meri Fasal-Mera Byora portal for sowing alternative crops in place of paddy," he said.
He further said that under a new initiative, sampling area for providing Soil Health Cards will be reduced from 2.5 acres to one acre.
"Till now 2.5 acres patch was taken as sample to issue soil health card, we are going to make area smaller to one acre to give certification. We will register the same in revenue record as we are already undertaking digitizing the land record and it will be mentioned what is the soil quality of a particular patch," he said, adding that more labs will be opened to facilitate this.
"With a view to ensuring that Soil Health Cards are available to the farmers close by, water and soil testing would be done in the laboratories in schools and colleges. Soil health cards will be issued every three years for 70 lakh acres of area in the state so that the farmers are aware of the fertility of their land and can sow the crops accordingly," the CM added.
Furthermore, the state has issued connections for 13,000 to 14,000 agriculture pump sets in the last few days.
"In the last few days, connections have been issued for 13,000 to 14,000 agriculture pump sets in the state. Farmers could also purchase motor up to 10 Hp. If the farmers have deposited the security with the power corporations, it would be returned to them along with the interest. Similarly, the Pashu Credit Card scheme has been implemented on the pattern of Kisan Credit Card and 1,40,000 cattle rearers have so far filled forms under the scheme," Khattar said.
The CM added that the new schemes are being implemented to minimise the dependence of farmers on arhtiyas (commision agents).
Meanwhile, the CM said that steps were taken to support those worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the state's revenue had been severely affected in the three months due to coronavirus, things are getting back on track this month.
"We lost ₹12,000 crore revenue by the situation. Now, in July things have started to come back to normal—be it GST, Excise, VAT collections are nearing back to normal, though revenue from transport sector is still down," the CM said.
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