Formulate policy to aid deceased farmers’ families: Panel

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New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) The Standing Committee on Agriculture on Tuesday asked the government to formulate a policy to provide special package to the families of farmers who commit suicide.

The Parliamentary panel headed by MP Hukmdev Narayan Yadav has raised concerns over the absence of special package for rehabilitation and support to families of deceased farmers.

“The committee has recommended that the government formulate a policy for grant of special package for rehabilitation of the bereaved families of the farmers who commit suicide under distress,” a release quoted the panel as saying.

The panel tabled several reports on ‘Demands for Grants (2018-19)’ related to agricultural departments in Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

It has suggested a mechanism to monitor the relief to “bereaved families without any inordinate delay”.

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The committee has recommended adoption of “liberal financing pattern” for implementation of Market Assurance Scheme (MAS) and Price Deficiency Procurement Scheme (PDPS) during early years of execution.

Raising concerns over increase in import of agriculture produce from 3.59 per cent of total import in 2012-13 to 6.42 per cent in 2016-17, the committee sought enhancement in production of agriculture products, which are currently being imported.

It has asked the government to undertake a detailed study to find ways to enhance production of these products in different agro-climatic zones and sub-zones and provide special incentives to farmers in order to reduce import and save foreign currency.

The committee has raised concerns over the low budgetary allocation for Agriculture Research and Education Department — 0.32 percent of the total central plan outlay.

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The network of rural periodic haat or Grameen Haat (GrAMs) can help developing agrarian economy and achieve the aim of doubling farmers’ income, the committee said.

It has sought the scheme to be implemented in “mission mode with a defined time frame”.

The committee has recommended creation of food processing infrastructure facilities to entrepreneurs, who are setting up food processing units besides incentives for industries being set up in rural areas.

In addition to large scale cold chain projects, cold storage plants at small scale such as village cooperative at district level may be built in order to arrest post harvest losses, it said.

At the same time, it expressed its displeasure over the “very slow” pace of implementation of Mega Food Parks and lower release of funds for food processing sector in North East states than the budgetary allocation.

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It has suggested creation of more opportunities for women in animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries sector, besides at least 30 per cent of the budget allocation for women beneficiaries.

–IANS

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