In the last three and a half years, Rs. 55,000 crores of interest free loans have been given to farmers in Rajasthan, which is the highest in the country till now. The State Government plans to take this figure to Rs. 75,000 crores in the next 1.5 years. This was stated by the Rajasthan Chief Minister, Ms. Vasundhara Raje at the inaugural session of Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet (GRAM) in Udaipur. The ‘GRAM’ Udaipur was jointly organised by the Government of Rajasthan and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FICCI).
The Chief Minister further said that the interest rate of Land Development Banks and Co-operative Banks is also being continuously reduced and will soon be as low as 5.5%. The farmers who take these loans will also be given an insurance cover under the cooperative sector Bima Yojna of Rs. 6 Lakhs and will soon be increased to Rs. 10 Lakhs.The premium amount for Bima Yojna is Rs. 55 annually, out of which the farmer only has to contribute Rs. 27.50 paise. The remaining amount will be contributed by the district co-operative banks.
Highlighting the future plans of the State Government for the benefit of the farmers, Raje said that the Rajasthan Agriculture Marketing Board has designed a scheme for farmers wanting to become entrepreneurs. Under this scheme incentives are offered to the farmers for the construction of processing units on their agricultural land. These units are eligible for 50% subsidy of the capital cost or Rs. 20 lakhs, whichever is less.
In addition to this, a separate fund of Rs 100 Crore has also been made for milk unions to benefit as many as 9 Lakh milk producers. Besides, 2,652 Custom Hiring Centres will be set up in the next 3 years, the Chief Minister said.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister of State, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, Mr. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said that by being one of the first states to formulate policies and take steps towards the vision of doubling farmers’ income, Rajasthan has set an example for the entire nation. Despite many challenges in the state, the contribution of Rajasthan’s farmers to the Gross Domestic Product is 30%. However, the need of the hour is to grow high value produce like fruits and vegetables instead of traditional crops like wheat and rice. He further said that the capital investment of farmers has significantly reduced in Rajasthan thereby increasing the profit. The Minister also pointed out that there has been no recorded farmer suicide in Rajasthan which is indeed commendable.
In his welcome address, Rajasthan Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Prabhu Lal Saini said that in GRAM Jaipur, 38 MoUs worth Rs. 4,400 Crores were signed in the Agri sector. Out of these 22 MoUs have either been executed or are in the advanced stage of their execution. The Minister further said that it is indeed a matter of pride that Rajasthan is the first state in the country to produce Olive Green Tea. The state is now also exporting extra virgin olive oil to countries like UK, USA, Singapore, Netherlands, among others.
Home Minister, Government of Rajasthan, Mr. Gulab Chand Kataria said that we have the magnificent Aravalli range as an abundant source of minor forest produce for the State. It is vital to sustainably extract the full value of this minor forest produce to move towards fulfilling the resolution of doubling the farmers’ income. Now is the time to put the agricultural strengths of the Mewar region at par with the success of not only the State but the country as a whole, he said.
Ambassador of Uzbekistan in India, HE Farhod Arziev said that Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet is an excellent platform to learn the latest technologies and farming methods being adopted in the agricultural sector in India. He said that Uzbekistan despite being an industrial country plays close attention to agriculture with special aim to increase the productivity. The country currently has 116,000 farms whose modernisation and technological improvement is a prime focus for Uzbekistan. Both the countries can benefit to learn from each other especially by sharing their knowledge in – intensive gardening and greenhouse planting.
Principal Secretary, Agriculture, Government of Rajasthan, Ms. Neelkamal Darbari highlighted the numerous achievements by the State Government in field of agriculture and allied sectors. She said that private sector mandis have been established to ensure that the farmers get the right value for their produce. In this regard, 25 agriculture produce mandis have joined e-NAM. Numerous new farming techniques have been adopted by the farmers of Rajasthan. The area under drip irrigation has increased by 45% to occupy 1.88 lakh hectares of agricultural area.
Earlier Rajasthan Chief Minister along with other dignitaries remotely inaugurated ‘GRAM Exhibition’ and Custom Hiring Centers (CHC). She also inaugurated various projects worth Rs 453 Crore of Agriculture & other departments in the state and Udaipur division. During the event, Knowledge papers and publications (Agri Value Chain in Udaipur Division; Fisheries Development in Udaipur Division; Forest Produce in Udaipur division; GRAM Brochure and two Hindi booklets for farmers) were also released.
The Inaugural session also witnessed a colourful and energetic performance by Rajasthani folk dancers and performers. A short film on the farmers of Rajasthan was also displayed.
While extending his vote of thanks, Secretary General, FICCI, Mr. Sanjaya Baru congratulated the Government of Rajasthan for the decision to organize Divisional level GRAMs which has received an overwhelming response from the entire agricultural fraternity. Rajasthan is on the path to realizing the Prime Minister’s vision of doubling farmer’s income by 2022. He concluded by adding that Rajasthan is on the path to sustainable and innovative growth in agriculture.