The Ashok Gehlot-led Government has initiated effective steps in the agriculture sector soon after taking over the reins of the administration, which have been praised by one and all.
On the one hand a new tradition of honouring farmers started for the first time in the country, while on the other hand concrete efforts were made for continuous increase in agriculture production. Rajasthan got the first prize of Rs. one crore cash for maximum production of pulses in the country and proved that the desert state could also set new record through miraculous increase in production.
Rajasthan is the first state in the country to honour progressive farmers. Cash prize and certificate are awarded to the farmers adopting new techniques of agriculture and thereby increasing their production. At the state level two farmers are given a prize of Rs. 50 thousand each, at district level Rs. 25 thousand each, while at the panchayat samiti level Rs.10,000 each cash prize is given to two farmers. The Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot awarded the prize to 496 progressive farmers for the year 2009 to 2011-12.
The State Government has constituted the Rajasthan Kisan Commission for improving the condition of farmers and finding effective solution to problems related to loan to farmers, price of produce, mandi arrangements, agriculture production export, agro-based industries, agriculture labourers etc. The Commission has started functioning and it submitted its first interim report to the Chief Minister on June 21, 2012.
Under the pulses, crops sowing had been done in 47.22 lakh hectare area in the year 2010-11 against the sowing done in 35 lakh hectare area on an average from 2005-6 to 2009-10. This sowing has been about 33% more than the average. Similarly from the point of production also the average production from the year 2005-6 to 2009-10 was 12.92 lakh metric tonne. Against this, the production in 2010-11 was 32.32 lakh metric tonne, which was about two and half times more than the average production of five years. Likewise the average productivity of pulses in five years (2005-6 to 2009-10) has been 365 kg. per hectare, while in the year 2010-11, this productivity has been 684 kg. per hectare, which is twice more than the average productivity of five years.
The State Government received the Rs.one crore cash prize from the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh and Union Agriculture Minister Shri Sharad Pawar for maximum production in pulses in the year 2010-11.The State Government has also not lagged behind in providing compensation to the farmers grappling with the situation of famine. Over Rs.798 crores assistance was provided for the first time under the agriculture input subsidy @ Rs.2000 per hectare to the famine affected small and marginal farmers in the year 2009-10.
The agriculture insurance scheme has been lunched to reduce the risk in agriculture and to compensate the farmers for the damage caused to the crops due to adverse weather. Under the scheme compensation of Rs.1773.70 crores was provided 28.60 lakh farmers from kharif-2008 to rabi-2009. Similarly compensation of Rs. 969.27 crores was provided to 59.32 lakh farmers under the weather based crop insurance scheme from kharif-2008 to rabi-2011.
With the view to ensure the time bound development of agriculture, the State Government has constituted a task force for formulation of agriculture policy. This policy is being given final shape. The State Government has also made a provision to provide incentive amount to the girls students pursuing B.Sc., M.Sc. and P.hd. courses in agriculture. With the view to inform farmers about the modern techniques of agriculture, publicize agriculture schemes in rural areas and to provide agriculture inputs to the farmers, camps are organized at the gram panchayat level before kharif and rabi season. In these camps more than 46 lakhs farmers have participated in the last three years.
The State Government has made concrete efforts to help the farmers through steps to improve the quality of soil, distribution of high breed seeds, fertilizers and for ensuring the optimal utilization of water in the agriculture sector. New Agriculture Colleges have been setup under the Rajasthan Agriculture University, Bikaner and Agriculture University, Udaipur.Effective steps have also been taken in the agriculture marketing sector. Under the Rajiv Gandhi Krishak Saath Yojana, assistance of Rs. one lakh is provided to the dependent of the farmers and agricultural labourers who died, while performing agricultural work. Under the scheme over 8556 farmers have been benefited upto August, 2012 and assistance of Rs. 3584.89 lakh provided.
Over Rs.551.03 crores have been spent on development works of mandi yards under the Krishi Upaj Mandi Samiti in the state. Of which Rs.338.83 crores have been spent on building construction and Rs.212.20 crores on construction and repair of roads. Pack houses have started operating at Chomu, Muhana and Sohela (Tonk), while the work of construction of cold storage of 4000 metric tone capacity has been completed in Jhalawar. Under the Agricultural Processing and Agriculture Business Promotion Policy-2010, a total of 643 proposals have been received most of which are related to the setting up of agriculture based industries.
Keeping in view the conservation of water in the state, sprinkler plants have been setup in 40274.30 hectare area from December, 2008 to August, 2012 and mini-sprinklers and drip irrigation in 57046.70 hectare area under the micro irrigation scheme. Sixty percent subsidy is provided in sprinklers, 70 percent in mini-sprinklers and 90 percent subsidy in drip irrigation in the state. New fruit gardens has been setup in 36328.94 hectare area in order to expand the area under horticulture. Over 261 green houses have been developed so that farmers could reap crops of high value in adverse climate also and earn a good income. Besides 1909 watershed structures have been constructed in the state in order to collect rain water and to get conserved water for horticulture crops. Over 2968 vermi compost units have also been setup so as to ensure that the farmers get domestic manure in good quantity on his farm.
With the view to implement agriculture activities effectively and to ensure the benefits of agriculture schemes and latest information of agriculture reach to the farmers, new posts of Agriculture Supervisors and Assistant Agriculture Officers have been created. For the first time after 1973, over 750 posts of Assistant Agriculture Officers have been created for the welfare of farmers and development of agriculture in the state. Positive results of these efforts have started showing up. Today Rajasthan is touching new heights in agriculture production with the hard work of farmers and patronage of State Government and this success is being recognized at the national level. (ANI)