Bill Gates to attend Agriculture Statistics meet in Delhi

Farmers families
Farmers summit

New Delhi, Nov 17 : Billionaire Bill Gates will be the chief guest of the four-day- long eighth International Conference on Agriculture Statistics which is going to start here on Monday, a statement said.
India is hosting this event for the first time in which the co-founder of tech giant Microsoft will share his views on the importance of data and use of technology in agriculture.
Union Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Minister Narendra Tomar will chair the inaugural function of the event. Ministers of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Purushottam Rupala and Kailash Choudhary will be the special guests.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, US Department of Agriculture, Eurostat, India's Statistics and Program Implementation Ministry and many other national and international organisations will participate in the event.
According to an Agriculture Ministry statement, around 1,200 participants will attend the four-day long event.
Indian Council of Agriculture Research Director General Trilochan Mahapatra, in a statement last week, said that young scientists and teachers of the country will get a chance to satisfy their queries from foreign agricultural experts. They will get to know about various knowledgeable programs that being carried out in the foreign countries.
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National Milk Day 2019: Why is it celebrated in India on 26th November?

Farmers
At farmers meet

India celebrates National Milk Day on 26th November in memory of Dr Verghese Kurien, fondly known as the Father of White Revolution. In 2014, all the dairy majors of the country, along with the Indian Dairy Association, resolved to observe Dr Kurien’s birth anniversary on 26th November as National Milk Day.
Also known as the Milkman of India, Kurien’s ‘white revolution’ transformed the country from an importer of dairy products to the world’s largest milk producer through a system of farmer cooperatives.
History: Operation Flood and the White Revolution
In 1965, the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri asked Kurien to replicate the dairy’s Anand pattern nationwide for which, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) was founded under Kurien on his conditions, that it be independent of governmental control and that it be set up at Anand, away from the capitals and closer to farmers.
Kurien’s ‘Anand pattern’ of dairy cooperatives was based on using a suitable ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom up’ approach. Amul, which was Kurien’s standalone cooperative then, refused no milk from a farmer. 70–80% of the price of milk paid by consumers went as cash to dairy farmers who controlled the marketing, the procurement and the processing of milk and milk products as the dairy’s owners, while hiring professionals for their skills and inducting technology, in managing it.
In the year 1970, ‘Operation Flood’ was launched as a National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) project. It transformed India from a milk-deficient nation into the world’s largest milk producer, surpassing the US in 1998, with about 17 percent of global output in 2010–11. It created a national milk grid linking producers throughout India with consumers in over 700 towns and cities, reducing seasonal and regional price variations while ensuring that the producer gets a major share of the price consumers pay, by cutting out middlemen
All this was achieved not merely by mass production, but by production by the masses; the process has been called the white revolution. This is known as his ‘billion-litre idea’.
Significance of National Milk Day in 2019:
The Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh announced that milk production has recorded a growth rate of 6.28% during last two years 2014-15 and 2015-16, which is much higher than the growth rate of around 4% in the previous years. He further stated that per capita availability of milk increased from 307 gram per day in 2013-14 to 340 grams per day in 2015-16, a growth of 5% which was below 3% before 2014-15.
India is world leader in milk production since last 15 years and the credit goes to small producers. The Agriculture Minister has informed that India with 190.90 million cattle (as per 19th Livestock Census 2012) has 13% of the world cattle population. Out of this, 151 million are indigenous, which is 80% of the total cattle population. India has 108.7 million buffaloes, which makes 57% of the world buffalo population. India is number one in bovine population with 18% of the world population and contributes 20% of the total milk produced in the world.
Indigenous breeds are tolerant to heat and resistant to diseases. The indigenous breeds of cows are known to produce A2 type milk which protects us from various chronic health problems such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and neurological disorders. The ministry has sanctioned an amount of Rs 2 crore each to Odisha and Karnataka for marketing of A2A2 Milk of indigenous breeds.

Governors' conference focuses on tribal welfare, water agriculture and education

Farmers
Farmers Meeting

New Delhi [India], Nov 24 (ANI): Issues related to tribal welfare, water, agriculture, higher education and ease of living figured prominently in discussions during two-day the Conference of Governors organised at Rashtrapati Bhawan here.
Chaired by President Ram Nath Kovind, the two-day conference concluded on Sunday.
"Five groups of Governors submitted their reports on these issues, and deliberated and identified actionable points in which Governors can play a facilitating role," an official release said.
The conference took a keen interest in tribal welfare issue and pointed out that policies for tribal upliftment had to be tailored in accordance with local requirements, it said.
The President said that it is the fundamental duty of every citizen to protect the natural environment including water resources like forest, lake and river.
"It is also a constitutional duty to continuously strive for excellence in all areas for the progress of the country. Individual and collective efforts for excellence in the areas of higher education, agriculture, inclusive growth and governance will give impetus to public welfare," Kovind said.
In his closing remarks, President Kovind said that the discussions held by Governors and Lt. Governors proved to be a fruitful exercise.
"The participation of Ministries and NITI Aayog has helped in making these discussions focused and actionable," he said.
The President said that campaign will be launched to create awareness about fundamental duties among the citizens on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of our constitution on November 26.
He expressed hope that all Raj Bhavans will celebrate Constitution Day in an effective manner and Governors will play a major role in creating awareness about fundamental duties among the people.
Vice President Venkaih Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah also addressed the concluding session. (ANI)
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Pmkisan
Farmers families

Pmkisan
Wheat


Days After PM’s Praise of NCP, Sharad Pawar Meets Modi in Parliament Over Maharashtra Farmers

New Delhi: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament, amid the ongoing lockdown over government formation in Maharashtra.
The meeting, which lasted for 45 minutes, was over the issue of Maharashtra farmers, but came just two days after the Prime Minister praised the NCP for its conduct in the Rajya Sabha, triggering speculations about a possible BJP-NCP coalition government in Maharashtra.
Pawar extended an invitation to PM Modi to attend the opening of a sugar mill on November 30.
The NCP chief, also a former Maharashtra Chief Minister himself, also submitted a letter to the Prime Minister, in which he said, “I’ve collected data on crop damage from 2 districts, but damage because of excessive rains extends to rest of Maharashtra, including Marathwada and Vidarbha. I’m collecting details and information regarding the same, which should be sent to you at the earliest.”
“Due to the prevalence of Presidential Rule in the state, your urgent intervention is highly necessitated. I shall be grateful, if you take immediate steps to initiate massive relief measures and ameliorate the miseries of the distressed farmers,” the NCP chief further wrote in his letter.
Maharashtra, which voted on October 21, is currently without a government despite the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance winning 161 seats, 16 more than the majority mark of 145 in the 288-seat Maharashtra Assembly. However, the BJP refused to accept the Sena’s demand to implement the 50-50 formula, which would have seen the two parties sharing the Chief Minister’s chair for 2.5 years each.
The snub prompted the Sena to enter negotiations with the NCP and the Congress and sever ties with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). According to reports, one formula that is in the works, would see Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray as the Chief Minister for the full five-year term with a deputy each from the NCP and the Congress, which will also get the Speaker’s post.

However, after meeting interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on Monday, Pawar said that while the current political situation in Maharashtra was discussed, there were no talks over government formation in the state
PM Modi’s solar pumps scheme for farmers triggers job losses among EPC contract

The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthan Mahaabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) scheme, launched in July this year to encourage farmers to use solar electricity pumps instead of high-emitting diesel pumps, has reportedly led to large-scale job losses among the EPC contractors of agriculture solar pumps.
The scheme has a target to install 17.50 lakh solar pumps in Indian farms by 2022.
Under the scheme participation of the contractors ?system integrators ? has been barred and only manufacturers of solar pumps and panels are eligible to bid for the tenders. Around 800 system integrators in India who have installed more than 2 lakh solar pumps till now across the country have been left high and dry, according to sources.
The impact has been severe on players who were forced to lay off their employees and cut their total strength to less than half, even as many of them continue to work with the bare minimum strength ever since the launch of the scheme and the first tender was floated by EESL in August, these sources added.
Gaurav Kumar, co-founder of Claro Energy, one such contractor told FE, ?We had to lay off people as there was no visibility for growth. Going ahead we expect the business to only come through maintenance jobs from existing sites.?
At present, over 30 million agricultural pumps are installed in India, out of which a third are diesel based.
It is believed over 20 million grid-connected agriculture water pumps installed in the country consume more than 17% of total annual electricity consumption of the country. Solarisation of the same can reduce dependence of these pumps on conventional sources of energy supplied by discoms and reduce the burden of subsidy on agriculture consumption. This will also provide additional source of income to farmers who will be in a position to sell the surplus power to discoms.
Sachin Singh, business head (solar water pump) Mahindra Susten, said, ?Most of these bidders (manufacturers) though have higher turnover compared to system integrators, do not have the free cash flow to execute projects. It can only be possible with the support of the system integrators who have the last mile network and technical knowhow.?

Landless labourers not covered under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme: Govt

The Centre gives income support to land-holding farmer families having cultivable land and those working in allied sectors linked to agriculture, but landless labourers cannot be provided benefits by the Centre under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme, the Rajya Sabha was informed on November 22.
Replying to supplementary questions in the Upper House of Parliament, Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare Parshottam Rupala said those working in allied sectors can also not be provided benefits by the Centre under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme.
He said it is for the states to determine who will get the Rs 6,000 assistance under the Centre's scheme.
Replying to another supplementary question on whether landless labourers and cultivators are covered under schemes meant for farmers, Rupala said landless labourers cannot get benefits of schemes meant for farmers unless the states identify them as farmers.
In a written reply, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said: "Agriculture being a state subject, the state governments undertake implementation of programmes/schemes for development of the sector. Government of India supplements the efforts of the state governments through various schemes/programmes".
He said the Central government provides income support to all land-holding farmer families in the country having cultivable land as per land records of the concerned state or Union Territory.Get access to India's fastest growing financial subscriptions service Moneycontrol Pro for as little as Rs 599 for first year. Use the code "GETPRO". Moneycontrol Pro offers you all the information you need for wealth creation including actionable investment ideas, independent research and insights & analysis For more information, check out the Moneycontrol website or mobile app.

Landless Farmers Not Covered Under BJP’s Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme

New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha was on Friday informed that the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme, which supports land-holding farmer families and those working in allied sectors linked to agriculture, does not provide income or any other benefit to landless labourers.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Parshottam Rupala on Friday noted that even those working in the allied sectors will not benefit from this Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme. Responding to the supplementary questions asked by members in the Upper House of Parliament on Friday, Rupala put the onus on the states to decide who will receive the assistance aid of Rs 6,000 as promised under the Centre’s scheme.
Rupala also noted that the landless labourers are not entitled to receive the benefits provided by the government schemes meant for farmers unless the state identifies them as farmers.
In a written reply, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar was quoted by a report as saying, “Agriculture being a state subject, the state governments undertake the implementation of programmes/schemes for development of the sector. Government of India supplements the efforts of the state governments through various schemes/programmes”. He added that the Central government extends support to all the land-holding farmer families across India whose cultivable land is recorded in their concerned state or Union Territory.

Officials asked to correct data of PM-KISAN scheme in UP

Lucknow, Nov 24 : UP Chief Secretary R K Tiwari has asked all district magistrates in Uttar Pradesh to ensure that the anomalies in the data of farmers is rectified by November 30 so that the beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi(PM-KISAN) scheme can start getting their dues from December 1.
Discrepancies in the data have led to problems in the implementation of PM-KISAN scheme, which guarantees income support of Rs 6,000 per annum to eligible farmers.
A large section of farmers, estimated to be around 1.3 crore, have been left out due to data problems.
The chief secretary's letter points out that the information of 1.11 crore farmers in UP, uploaded on the centre's portal, is incorrect.
Names of the farmers, mentioned on the portal, do not match with the name written on their Aadhaar cards.
If this is not rectified, farmers will not be able to get their fourth installment of Rs 2,000.
The letter further says that the bank account details of at least 20 lakh farmers are incorrect and were subsequently rejected by the Public Financial Management System (PFMC).
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has already expressed dissatisfaction over the slow redressal of the loopholes in the implementation of PM's flagship project in the country's most populous state.
PM-KISAN scheme was announced by former Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal in February this year.
Under the scheme, all small and marginal farmers are eligible to get Rs 6,000 every year in three installments as minimum income support.
The scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Gorakhpur ahead of the Lok Sabha elections by transferring the first installment of Rs 2,000 each to more than 1 crore farmers

PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana List 2019: These farmers to benefit - Check revised eligibility, official website

PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana list 2019: In a landmark decision in the very first cabinet meeting after taking the oath to power, PM Narendra Modi-led Union government has decided to comprehensively extend the ambit of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN). Now, all land holding eligible farmer families (subject to the prevalent exclusion criteria) would avail of the benefits under this scheme. This means that in the revised list, all farmers, except those in the exclusion criteria, would be included. The revised Scheme is now expected to cover around 2 crore more farmers, increasing the coverage of PM-KISAN to around 14.5 crore beneficiaries, with an estimated expenditure by Central Government of Rs. 87,217.50 crores for the year 2019-20. 
Exclusion criteria under PM-Kisan
Previously, all landholding farmer families having cultivable landholding up to 2 hectare, whose names appear in the land records of States/UT as on 01.02.2019, were eligible to get benefit under the scheme. This has now been extended to all farmers. However, those falling in the prevalent exclusion criteria won't benefit from the scheme. These include (a) All Institutional Landholders; and (b) Farmer families in which one or more of its members belong to the following categories:
i. Former and present holders of constitutional posts
ii. Former and present Ministers/ State Ministers and former/present Members of Lok Sabha/ Rajya Sabha/ State Legislative Assemblies/ State Legislative Councils, former and present Mayors of Municipal Corporations, former and present Chairpersons of District Panchayats.
iii. All serving or retired officers and employees of Central/ State Government Ministries /Offices/Departments and its field units Central or State PSEs and Attached offices /Autonomous Institutions under Government as well as regular employees of the Local Bodies (Excluding Multi Tasking Staff / Class IV/Group D employees)
iv. All superannuated/retired pensioners whose monthly pension is Rs.10,000/-or more(Excluding Multi Tasking Staff / Class IV/Group D employees)
v. All Persons who paid Income Tax in the last assessment year.
vi. Professionals like Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, Chartered Accountants, and Architects registered with Professional bodies and carrying out profession by undertaking practices. 
What is PM-KISAN
It is a path-breaking support incentive for farmers. The genesis of the PM-KISAN Yojana dates back to the interim Budget for the year 2019-2020. The key element of PM-KISAN was income support of Rs. 6000 to the small and marginal landholder farmer families with cultivable land holding up to 2 hectare across the country. This was expanded on Friday. The amount under the scheme is released in three 4-monthly instalments of Rs.2000 each over the year and credited into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries held in destination banks through Direct Benefit Transfer mode. The scheme was launched in a record time of 3 weeks, on 24th February at a huge programme in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh where the first round of instalments was paid to several farmers.
The first instalment went to 3.11 crore beneficiaries and the second instalment to 2.66 crore beneficiaries was credited directly to the bank accounts of the farmer families.
PM Kisan Samman Nidhi website
You can check more details at http://www.pmkisan.gov.in/
PM Kisan Samman Nidhi 2019 beneficiary list
You can check the beneficiary list online at http://www.pmkisan.gov.in/StateDist_Beneficiery.aspx
PM Kisan beneficiary identification
The prevailing land-ownership system/record of land in different States/Union Territories will be used to identify the intended beneficiaries for transfer of scheme benefits. Responsibility of identifying the landholder farmer family eligible for benefit under the scheme is of the State/UT Government.

PM Kisan Yojana To Go Online, Farmers Can Apply From Common Service Centres

Farmers will soon have the option of registering online for the PM Kisan scheme. The step will ease the implementation of income-supported schemes, the government said.
It is also designing a new system for farmers’ pension scheme, announcing the decision of the first cabinet meeting under the new Modi government.
Under the PM Kisan Yojna, the government gives INR 6,000 a year to all the farmers registered under the scheme. The voluntary pension scheme offers INR 3,000 per month to farmers attaining the age of 60, with an entry age of 18-40 years.
“We plan to introduce the option of online registration, where farmers can apply online from any common service centre. The form then can be verified online by the respective patwari or any authorised official of the gram panchayat. This will stem corruption and result in fast implementation of this scheme,” said a senior agriculture department official according to an ET report.
He also said that there were many disqualifications in the application due to illegible forms and information mismatch, adding that online registrations would keep a check on this process.
The range of this scheme has widened after it was extended to farmers irrespective of the land they hold. For quick disposal of applications, it becomes essential that there is an option for applying online. Online registrations would also work parallel to the existing system of registration, thus broadening its reach.
Under the current norms, farmers deposit their forms to the gram panchayat, where the authorised people verify the information.
“We have come to know about many incidents where farmers had to follow up officials and extend favour for getting the verification done. By going online, these incidents will reduce in numbers,”the official reportedly said.
So far, under the PM Kisan Yojana, the government has enrolled 36.6 Mn beneficiaries. Of these. Out of these, 30.3 Mn have been paid the first instalment of 2,000 and 19.9 Mn have received the second instalment as well.
After opening the scheme to all the farmers, the number of beneficiaries is expected to reach 145 Mn.
Taking every farmer under the net would be a time-consuming exercise. We would introduce processes which can curtail the time,” he added.
The PM Kisan Yojana is an income support scheme of INR 6,000 to marginal landholders who have a cultivable land holding of up to 2 hectares.
The amount is released in a three to four-month installment of INR 2,000. The amount is credited into the bank account of the beneficiaries in destination banks through Direct Benefit Transfer Mode. So far the government claims that there have been 3.11 Cr beneficiaries, where the second installment was credited to 2.66 Cr beneficiaries.

Union Budget 2019: UP, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra top 3 beneficiaries of PM Kisan Yojna

Union Budget 2019:  Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar had recently informed the Lok Sabha that 3.33 crore farmers' families have received the first instalment of Rs 2,000 each under the  Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM Kisan) scheme, while 2.89 crore beneficiaries had received the second installment.  
The scheme, announced in the Interim Budget in February, initially aimed to provide Rs 6,000 per year in installments to an estimated 12.5 crore small and marginal farmers holding land up to 2 hectares to help with expenses related to agriculture and allied activities as well as domestic needs. But a day after the Modi 2.0 government took oath of office, the cabinet notified a decision to extend the benefit to all 14.5 crore farmers in the country, irrespective of the size of their landholding.
Also read: Union Budget 2019 LIVE updates: Nirmala Sitharaman to present her maiden budget today; arrives at Ministry of Finance
According to government data, Uttar Pradesh boasts the highest number of total beneficiaries at 1.20 crore (combining both installments). That's more than three times the number of recipient families in Andhra Pradesh, which ranks second among the Top 5 states in terms of beneficiaries. The state had 34.92 lakh beneficiaries as of June 25. The next three biggies on the list are Maharashtra (31.75 lakh beneficiaries), Gujarat (29.80 lakh) and Rajasthan (28.26 lakh).
On the other hand, Madhya Pradesh with just 12,888 total beneficiaries to date - lower than much smaller states like Tripura, Manipur, Assam and Himachal Pradesh - raises eyebrows. After all, agrarian distress in the state had cost the BJP big time in the assembly polls. Although it admittedly was a late-entrant to the scheme, Rajasthan, another Congress-ruled state, has played the catch-up game far better. Meanwhile, West Bengal under the Trinamool Congress continues to shun PM- Kisan. The farmers of Delhi and Lakshadweep are yet to benefit from the scheme, too.
According to a June 25 statement by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, the government shelled out close to Rs 6,663 crore in the first installment and over Rs 5,791 crore in the second tranche. Not surprisingly, Uttar Pradesh has cornered over 35 per cent of the total pie. The second biggest beneficiary, Andhra Pradesh, is far behind with just 10 per cent of the total allocation so far.
The expanded PM Kisan scheme is expected to cost Rs 87,217.50 crore a year to the exchequer, up from the previous estimate of Rs 75,000 crore when land holding were capped at 2 hectares. The buzz is that the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman may announce an allocation to the scheme in her maiden budget and that will add to her challenge of a balancing act between making India happy and fiscally prudent.
Also read: Union Budget 2019: When and where to watch LIVE coverage of budget
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PM Modi launches direct cash benefit scheme for farmers

Chana
Farming

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday hit out at the Opposition for remembering farmers just before elections as he launched the Rs 75,000 crore Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) cash transfer scheme for small and marginal cultivators.
The scheme was announced in the interim budget on February 1 ahead of national polls due this summer. Rs 6,000 would annually be transferred in three instalments into bank accounts of farmers with less than two-hectare land holdings.
Modi contrasted the scheme with farm loan waivers. He said the waivers, unlike the scheme, benefit a select few as he initiated the electronic transfer of the first instalment of Rs 2,000 each into the bank accounts of 10.1 million farmers under PM-KISAN. Modi said the earlier farm loan waiver schemes only benefitted “Congress workers” and added the PM Kishan scheme will benefit all farmers.
“Loan waivers would have been easy and convenient for us too. We could also have distributed lollypops for political and election benefits, but we cannot commit such a sin. Loan waiver benefits only a select few,” said Modi in UP’s Gorakhpur.
Farm loan waiver was among the Congress’s key promises as it wrested power from the BJP in December in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, which account for 65 out of 545 Lok Sabha seats.
Modi insisted PM Kishan was not just an “election promise” and warned the farmers against rumours that the money being given under the scheme will be taken back. “This is your money and it will not be taken back.”
Modi said the first instalments under the scheme have been deposited into the bank accounts of farmers directly and those left out will get them soon. “There are no middlemen in this scheme and it is being implemented with complete transparency,” Modi told a gathering after interacting with a select group of farmers from different states via videoconferencing.
Modi, who also launched several other projects worth Rs 10,000 crore in Gorakhpur and Eastern Uttar Pradesh, said his government was working to provide all possible resources to help farmers double their incomes by 2022.
The Opposition parties linked the scheme’s launch to the national polls to oppose it.
In a series of tweets, former Union finance minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram said the BJP government “will officially give a bribe” of Rs 2,000 per agricultural family to get their votes. “Nothing can be more shameful in a democracy than ‘Bribe for Votes’. The greater shame is that the Election Commission [EC] is unable to stop the ‘bribe for votes’,” he said.
The EC can stop a scheme only after the model code of conduct comes into forces. The code prevents a government from announcing schemes that may influence voters in the run-up to elections. It comes into force only after a poll schedule is announced. The EC is expected to announce the dates for national elections in the first week of March, according to people aware of the developments.
Former UP CM and Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Akhilesh Yadav criticised the scheme calling it a poll sop. “The farm crisis is a national crisis and needs a national solution, no poll-sop can implement change at this scale — we stand with farmers and promise to bring about a #GoldenRevolution for all farmers regardless of caste, creed or religion,” he tweeted.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, whose party in contesting the national elections in UP in alliance with SP, attacked Modi for launching the scheme just before polls. She called the scheme an “insult” to farmers. Mayawati added a farmer’s family will get Rs 17 daily under the scheme and called the scheme an election year stunt which “the people have seen through”.

2019 interim budget brings double delight for Jharkhand farmers

Wheatfarm
Wheatfarm

RANCHI: It was a double delight for lakhs of farmers in Jharkhand as the stand-in finance minister Piyush Goyal, who holds Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal portfolio, announced Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kishan yojana) promising assured monetary support to small and marginal land holders. For, they are now set to get additional benefits both from state and central funds. Under PM Kishan Yojana, Rs 6,000 per year to farmer families, having cultivable land up to 2 hectares, is announced. On the other hand, chief minister Raghubar Das had already announced a similar scheme titled Mukhyamantri Krishi Ashirwad Yojana earmarking an allocation of Rs 2500 crore from coming fiscal under which Rs 5000 per acre will be credited to farmers account before khariff season having land holding up to 5 acre land. “Taken together, farmers in Jharkhand stand to benefit the most these twin schemes now,” hailed chief minister Raghubar Das at a brief interaction with reporters at Project Building soon after budget got over in Lok Sabha. “Now, with Rs 5000 from state coffers, and Rs 6000 from central funds, each farmer is set to get a minimum of Rs 11,000 and maximum of Rs 31,000 financial assistance per year in Jharkhand. Of the total 28 lakh farmers we have, over 22 lakhstands to get the most benefit across the country,” he added. Agriculture experts as well as farmers too gave thumbs up to the budget. Talking to TOI, Birsa Agriculture University’s vice chancellor Parvinder Kaushal dubbed it as one of the best pro-farmer budget, which isn’t just aimed reducing the distress but also promises income enhancement. “I am more impressed by the announcement of setting up of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog under Rashtriya Gokul Mission for genetic upgradation of cow resources to enhance production and productivity of cows. Not just agriculture, but allied fields like animal husbandry and fisheries too needed systematic intervention to achieve the mission of doubling farmers income and this step is in that direction going by the 


Mustard
Mustard

announcement,” said Kaushal, adding that they (BAU) have already initiated work in regard to upgradation of cow resources on pilot basis by introducing foreign species with indigenous ones and studies were underway. Sujit Baski, a vegetable grower in Kanke having about 3 acre cultivable land, who watched the budget on his mobile, sounded elated. “Assured money from government won’t reduce our problems, but will help us in making better purchases in terms of raw materials without having to run to banks. But the catch will be its effective implementation,” he said. Agreed Shyam Sunder Bediya, a progressive farmer of Angara, who recently went to Israel on state funded exposure trip, but he went on to maintain that he would have preferred if budget would have also focussed on market linkage. “Money is okay, but it can be a sustainable way to boost agriculture. What is required is market linkage, and infrastructure support too. Even for horticulture products, there has to be a minimum support price fixed besides immediate facilities of having cold chains, storages etc,” he said. To boost fisheries, the government also announced to create a separate Department of Fisheries besides promising 2% interest subvention to the farmers pursuing activities of animal husbandry and fisheries, who avail loan through kisan credit card. In case of timely repayment of loan, an additional 3% interest subvention is announced, giving a reason for many fish growers in Jharkhand to rejoice. According to government figures, Jharkhand currently produces around 150 thousand metric tons of fish annually, a significant increase compared to 67.9 thousand metric tons in 2008. “But it (fisheries or allied sector) was often considered as an independent sector. Having a separate department will now lay special emphasis to its growth,” remarked Raju Mahli of Getalsud Mataysa Sangh.

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2019 interim budget brings double delight for Jharkhand farmers

Kisan
Smoking is injurious to health

RANCHI: It was a double delight for lakhs of farmers in Jharkhand as the stand-in finance minister Piyush Goyal, who holds Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal portfolio, announced Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kishan yojana) promising assured monetary support to small and marginal land holders. For, they are now set to get additional benefits both from state and central funds. Under PM Kishan Yojana, Rs 6,000 per year to farmer families, having cultivable land up to 2 hectares, is announced. On the other hand, chief minister Raghubar Das had already announced a similar scheme titled Mukhyamantri Krishi Ashirwad Yojana earmarking an allocation of Rs 2500 crore from coming fiscal under which Rs 5000 per acre will be credited to farmers account before khariff season having land holding up to 5 acre land. “Taken together, farmers in Jharkhand stand to benefit the most these twin schemes now,” hailed chief minister Raghubar Das at a brief interaction with reporters at Project Building soon after budget got over in Lok Sabha. “Now, with Rs 5000 from state coffers, and Rs 6000 from central funds, each farmer is set to get a minimum of Rs 11,000 and maximum of Rs 31,000 financial assistance per year in Jharkhand. Of the total 28 lakh farmers we have, over 22 
lakhstands to get the most benefit across the country,” he added. Agriculture experts as well as farmers too gave thumbs up to the budget. Talking to TOI, Birsa Agriculture University’s vice chancellor Parvinder Kaushal dubbed it as one of the best pro-farmer budget, which isn’t just aimed reducing the distress but also promises income enhancement. “I am more impressed by the announcement of setting up of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog under Rashtriya Gokul Mission for genetic upgradation of cow resources to enhance production and productivity of cows. Not just agriculture, but allied fields like animal husbandry and fisheries too needed systematic intervention to achieve the mission of doubling farmers income and this step is in that direction going by the 
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announcement,” said Kaushal, adding that they (BAU) have already initiated work in regard to upgradation of cow resources on pilot basis by introducing foreign species with indigenous ones and studies were underway. Sujit Baski, a vegetable grower in Kanke having about 3 acre cultivable land, who watched the budget on his mobile, sounded elated. “Assured money from government won’t reduce our problems, but will help us in making better purchases in terms of raw materials without having to run to banks. But the catch will be its effective implementation,” he said. Agreed Shyam Sunder Bediya, a progressive farmer of Angara, who recently went to Israel on state funded exposure trip, but he went on to maintain that he would have preferred if budget would have also focussed on market linkage. “Money is okay, but it can be a sustainable way to boost agriculture. What is required is market linkage, and infrastructure support too. Even for horticulture products, there has to be a minimum support price fixed besides immediate facilities of having cold chains, storages etc,” he said. To boost fisheries, the government also announced to create a separate Department of Fisheries besides promising 2% interest subvention to the farmers pursuing activities of animal husbandry and fisheries, who avail loan through kisan credit card. In case of timely repayment of loan, an additional 3% interest subvention is announced, giving a reason for many fish growers in Jharkhand to rejoice. According to government figures, Jharkhand currently produces around 150 thousand metric tons of fish annually, a significant increase compared to 67.9 thousand metric tons in 2008. “But it (fisheries or allied sector) was often considered as an independent sector. Having a separate department will now lay special emphasis to its growth,” remarked Raju Mahli of Getalsud Mataysa Sangh.

Landless Farmers Not Covered Under BJP’s Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme

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New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha was on Friday informed that the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme, which supports land-holding farmer families and those working in allied sectors linked to agriculture, does not provide income or any other benefit to landless labourers.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Parshottam Rupala on Friday noted that even those working in the allied sectors will not benefit from this Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme. Responding to the supplementary questions asked by members in the Upper House of Parliament on Friday,
He said it is for the states to The Assembly on Thursday passed a motion for considering the further stages of the Kerala Farmers’ Welfare Fund Bill, 2018, as reported by the Select Committee.

A ‘watershed’ scheme to provide farmers with an assured income and a share of the revenue generated from selling farm produce lay at the heart of the Bill mooted by Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar.

The Bill proposed to levy an Actio Apportum (Avakasha Labham) cess on farm produce. The levy will be rooted to farmers as a ‘profit rights’ fund. The Bill applies to a range of products, including dairy, livestock, poultry, rice, fruits and vegetables.

The Bill proposes to set up a welfare board to guarantee monthly pension and other benefits  who will get the Rs 6,000 assistance under the Centre’s scheme. Replying to another supplementary question on whether landless labourers and cultivators are covered under schemes meant for farmers, Rupala said landless labourers cannot get benefits of schemes meant for farmers unless the states identify them as farmers.
In a written reply, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said: “Agriculture being a state subject, the state governments undertake the implementation of programmes/schemes for development of the sector. Government of India supplements the efforts of the state governments through various schemes/programmes”. He said the Central government provides income support to all land-holding farmer families in the country having cultivable land as per land records of the concerned state or Union Territory.
The Assembly on Thursday passed a motion for considering the further stages of the Kerala Farmers’ Welfare Fund Bill, 2018, as reported by the Select Committee.
A ‘watershed’ scheme to provide farmers with an assured income and a share of the revenue generated from selling farm produce lay at the heart of the Bill mooted by Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar.
The Bill proposed to levy an Actio Apportum (Avakasha Labham) cess on farm produce. The levy will be rooted to farmers as a ‘profit rights’ fund. The Bill applies to a range of products, including dairy, livestock, poultry, rice, fruits and vegetables.
The Bill proposes to set up a welfare board to guarantee monthly pension and other benefits The Assembly on Thursday passed a motion for considering the further stages of the Kerala Farmers’ Welfare Fund Bill, 2018, as reported by the Select Committee.

A ‘watershed’ scheme to provide farmers with an assured income and a share of the revenue generated from selling farm produce lay at the heart of the Bill mooted by Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar.

The Bill proposed to levy an Actio Apportum (Avakasha Labham) cess on farm produce. The levy will be rooted to farmers as a ‘profit rights’ fund. The Bill applies to a range of products, including dairy, livestock, poultry, rice, fruits and vegetables.

The Bill proposes to set up a welfare board to guarantee monthly pension and other benefits 

Govt Interference Negatively Impacts Agriculture Sector: Omnivore’s Mark Kahn

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Mark Kahn, managing partner of agritech fund Omnivore doesn’t mince words when it comes to half baked government policies particularly the agriculture sector where he is focused. Interestingly, he also appreciates and recognises the Modi government’s effort towards farmer’s welfare through the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Yojana.
“Government policies are screwing up the agricultural economy. Think about it. Had government interference not been there, would farmers grow so much wheat in Punjab, UP, and Haryana? If it wasn’t for this incredible subsidy of urea, would farmers be overusing nitrogen? No!” 
Speaking to Inc42, on the sidelines of NASSCOM Product Conclave 2019, Kahn said, “The PM KISAN scheme is a terrific program. I think they should prioritise KISAN above everything else; take the entire budget that they spend on fertiliser subsidies — the entire budget of the FCI (Food Corporation Of India), all the subsidies that warp agricultural prices and give that directly to farmers. And shut those existing subsidies down.”
That’s a strong viewpoint on how government interference has made life more difficult for many farmers in the country, despite agritech startups looking to improve farmer incomes and crop yields.
“I realise it’s a fairly unpopular opinion, but I think agricultural policy reform has the capability to address the unfulfilled promises regarding farmer’s welfare
Venture fund Omnivore closed its Fund 2 at $97 Mn in April this year. The firm has already made a total of eight investments from the second fund. “And, we will close four new investments by the end of the current financial year. We’re quite busy. Probably the busiest we’ve ever been. By then, we will have a total 11-12 investments in Fund 2,” said Kahn.
Among the fund’s notable recent investments are aquaculture startup Aquaconnect, Fasal, Intello Labs, TartanSense, AgNext, and DeHaat.
Is Government Spending In Agriculture Misplaced?
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There are many reasons to believe what Kahn is talking about instead of admiring the government’s policy measures for the agriculture sector on paper.
In February this year, the Indian government had announced the PM-KISAN direct benefit transfer scheme for farmers. Under the scheme, 12.6 Cr small and marginal farmers were promised an income of INR 6,000 per year in three instalments. Besides the scheme which costs the central government INR 75K Cr,  there has been a slew of other subsidy programmes being announced, such as the Interest Subsidy Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana, Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, and National Mission of Horticulture. The Indian government had allocated INR 57,600 Cr in 2018-19 towards these schemes.
Besides these, India’s grain procurement agency, the FCI has been the ‘Air India’ of the Indian agriculture sector, facing huge financial deficits. According to a Business Standard report, even if the centre releases all its allocated subsidy for 2019-20, then too by March 2020, the FCI would still have INR 174K Cr as outstanding unpaid subsidy dues and around INR 145K Cr as outstanding loans from the National Small Savings Fund (NSSF) by the end of the 2019-20 financial year.
In 2019, the government also announced that the minimum support price (MSP) for certain crops would be provided at least one and a half times the production cost, including costs of inputs such as seeds, fertiliser, and the implied cost of labour. In spite of spending a staggering INR 1.38 Lakh Cr in farmer’s welfare, farmer suicides continue to be a major issue in the country. For context, Maharashtra alone has witnessed over 60K farmer suicides since 1995.
Inflation Of Prices Hurting Farmers
The government must stop inflating the prices of agricultural products via MSP policies, as this is neither good for farmers nor the agritech ecosystem, believes Kahn.
“The problem with the agricultural economy in India is that the government uses price mechanisms to drive farmer welfare. They raise the minimum support price and then subsidise various inputs. When you artificially inflate output prices or artificially lower input prices, what happens? You create overconsumption of inputs and you create overproduction to sell into that overinflated price.”
The Omnivore managing partner said farmers are not being allowed to see market signals. “They’re blinded by these policies. And if you ask the government, why are you doing this? They will refer to farmer welfare. OK, so you just created KISAN. Transfer the funds directly to farmers for their welfare instead of feeding the bureaucracy. Stop manipulating prices and markets” Kahn added emphatically.
10X Growth For Agritech Ecosystem
Shifting the conversation from policy to business, Kahn noted that the Indian agritech ecosystem has actually witnessed a 10x growth since he had started investing.
“We’ve done some analysis recently about how the agritech ecosystem has grown 10x since 2013. We now see more deal flow, more diversity in technologies, much stronger teams, and founders that have prior startup experience. It’s early innings, but shaping up well.”
He shared the recent traction that agritech startups are generating among investors. “Tiger Global invested in NinjaCart. Interestingly, it had never invested in an agritech startup. While 2013-14  agritech investments from VCs totalled $20 Mn, this year, we have already crossed $200 Mn.”
With investments growing exponentially, why aren’t we seeing unicorns in the agritech space?
‘Unicorns?’ Kahn asked, indicating that the term irks him.
“Ninjacart is, of course, heading towards that. But, I think that the metric (fundraising and valuation) is not the right measure of success. The question is, can we build large, scalable businesses that can be successfully exited either in public markets or through M&As? You can raise lots of money; but, if you can’t take it public or sell it to a strategic, you’re nowhere. So I’m more interested in seeing a steady stream of exits, strategic exits, secondaries, and IPOs that really allow these companies to scale sustainably.”
The Need For A Dedicated Agritech Fund-of-Funds Under Startup India
With emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and robotics making an impact across the ecosystem, agritech startups are also coming up with innovative yet affordable solutions to boost the agricultural economy. However, looking at the large, diverse Indian market, it is just the tip of the iceberg,
Kahn believes a dedicated agritech fund-of-funds under Startup India’s ‘Fund of Funds’ should be created and disbursed over the next few years.
“Open up the ability of agritech startups to work with the government in various bids and tenders and projects and get rid of the requirements that they have five years of profitability and all of the things that essentially just reward established players instead of new ventures.”
Startups Are Not The Solution For Farmer’s Plights
Like any other sector in the startup ecosystem, the agritech industry has its strengths and shortcomings. Agritech startups can’t address the farmers’ plight entirely, especially for the most marginal of farmers.
“While agritech startups are interfacing with farmers of all levels (marginal, small, semi-medium, medium and large as per government classification, most of the interactions are with the semi-medium, medium and large categories, who collectively own 57% of India’s cultivable land.”
This means some farmers are left out of the agritech ecosystem umbrella. While Kahn appreciates the Modi government’s approach and NITI Aayog’s efforts to boost the sector, he feels ‘much more is left to be done.”