Cotton growers who had diversified from paddy in 17 districts of Haryana, under the state government's flagship 'Mera Pani-Meri Virasat' scheme during kharif 2020 will soon receive their first instalment of incentive at the rate of Rs 2,000 per acre directly into their bank accounts.
Under the scheme, the state government had promised to pay Rs 7,000 per acre for diversified crop, of which the first installment of Rs 2,000 per acre would be paid after verification and the rest would be paid when the crop is in the maturing stage.
"A total of Rs 10.21 lakh will be disbursed to such farmers as the first installment through direct benefits transfer mode after completion of physical verification process by officials of the department," Sanjeev Kaushal, Additional Chief Secretary (Agriculture), was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
"A total of 20,420 hectares (of land) was verified to have been diversified from paddy to cotton in Sirsa, Fatehabad, Jind, Hisar, Kaithal, Jhajjar, Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri, Sonepat, Rohtak, Faridabad, Palwal, Rewari, Mewat, Gurugram, Panipat and Karnal districts," he added.
Under the scheme, cotton growers in Sirsa district would be the biggest beneficiaries, with more than Rs 2.26 crore to be distributed amongst them for opting to sow the cash crop in 4,523 hectares. While farmers in Fatehabad district would get incentives totalling Rs 1.98 crore for cultivating cotton in 3,966 hectares, those in Jind district will get incentive totalling Rs 1.97 crore for cultivating cotton in 3,945 hectares, Kaushal said.
"Mera Pani – Meri Virasat scheme had been implemented in an effort to conserve the depleting groundwater table in the state. Farmers in water-stressed Ratia (district Fatehabad), Siwan and Guhla (district Kaithal), Pipli, Shahabad, Babain and Ismailabad (district Kurukshetra) and Sirsa (district Sirsa) blocks, where the groundwater level is below 40 metres, were being encouraged to cultivate alternative crops, including maize, bajra, cotton, pulses and horticultural crops," he said.
Furthermore, to help the farmers, the state government would procure all diversified crops such as maize, bajra, and pulses at a minimum support price.
"The gram panchayats would not permit paddy growing in agricultural lands owned by them, and applicable financial benefits in lieu of diversification from paddy to alternative crops would be provided to the respective panchayats," Kaushal said.
"State government would also install maize dryer at related grain markets for reducing the moisture content of maize grain produced by the farmers. Farmers would also be provided 85 per cent subsidy for installation of drip irrigation system in the alternative diversified crops," he added.
The Additional Chief Secretary further said that the department would provide pneumatic or normal maize seed planter for the sowing of maize in the targeted blocks for diversification of paddy. Further, to generate awareness among the farmers, the department would provide information on the implementation of crop diversification programme through IEC (information, education and communication) activities.
In addition, a dedicated web portal has also been launched for the farmers. In order to demonstrate best agriculture practices to the farmers for achieving a good yield for their crop, as many as 41 demonstration plots have been established in the targeted blocks.
Recently, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had announced that the state will soon open 2,000 multi-brand retail outlets to ensure that farmers can sell their produce as traders.
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.
The CM had also said that under his government's crop diversification scheme, which aims at water conservation, 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 had said.
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.
Earlier this month, Khattar also approved a Rs 1,304 crore comprehensive plan for the crop residue management.
Under the scheme 'Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue' submitted to the Centre, long with in-situ and ex-situ management of crop residue, the plan consists of enforcement measures regarding the prohibition on stubble burning as well.
"State government had been taking all possible measures for management of paddy straw in-situ (in the field), including distributing equipment for crop residue management, establishing Custom Hiring Centres (CHCs) and establishing dedicated control room at state headquarters at the Directorate of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare," Kaushal had said.
Besides this, an incentive of Rs 100 per quintal is being provided to non-basmati growers for the crop residue management within seven days as per the direction of the Supreme Court.
"Haryana government has helped small and marginal farmers growing non-Basmati and Muchal variety of Basmati, by providing enough machines and Rs 1,000 per acre as operational cost. For these two purposes, the Haryana government has already provided a sum of Rs 453 crore in the state budget," Kaushal added.
"Haryana government has also encouraged establishment of straw bailer units to promote ex-situ management. Under this initiative, 64 such units were established till November 5, 2019, and 131 were established between November 6 and December 11. State government has also issued 155 permits to farmers for purchase of such units," he further said.Also Read: Haryana To Roll Out Rs 1,304 Crore Plan To Tackle Stubble Burning