Cabinet approves packages to dispel farmers’ distress

Cabinet approves packages to dispel farmers’ distress

New Delhi: In a bid to mitigate severe financial distress faced by farmers in various states, the government on Thursday decided to provide financial support of about Rs765 crore to implement programmes in suicide-prone districts as suggested by top farm scientist M S Swaminathan.

The decision, taken by the Cabinet at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, also includes financial support of Rs361.55 crore for promoting research on rubber, coffee, cardamom, pepper and tea, Minister of State in the PMO Prithviraj Chavan told reporters here.

The M S Swaminathan Research Foundation’s recommendations on providing support for countervailing high price of copper fungicides and banana crop insurance were also approved for financial grants, he said.

Following high level of distress among farmers and a spate of suicides, the government had in 2006 identified 36 districts in several states like Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra, and had decided to put in place a special plan of action for them.

It had also decided to pay special focus on the tribal plantation farmers of Idukki district in Kerala.

The Chennai-based Foundation was then assigned to study the problem and recommend measures to mitigate the agrarian distress among the Idukki farmers.

The Cabinet also gave in-principle nod for need-based additional allocations to the ministries and departments concerned to implement measures included in the package, subject to norms and approval of authorities, he said.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs today also approved the allocation of Rs2,276.65 crore to strengthen agricultural education during the 11th Plan period (2007-12).