I now take up agriculture.
74. Agriculture will continue to be a priority for the Government. The total plan outlay for the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation is being increased by 18 per cent from ` 17,123 crore in 2011-12 to ` 20,208 crore in 2012-13.
75. The outlay for Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) is being increased from `7,860 crore in 2011-12 to ` 9,217 crore in 2012-13. I am happy to inform the House that the initiative of Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI) has resulted in a significant increase in production and productivity of paddy. States in eastern India have reported additional paddy production of seven million tonnes in Kharif 2011. I propose to increase the allocation for this scheme from `400 crore in 2011-12 to `1000 crore in 2012-13.
76. This year, under RKVY, I also propose to allocate `300 crore to Vidarbha Intensified Irrigation Development Programme. This Scheme seeks to bring in more farming areas under protective irrigation.
77. The Government intends to merge the remaining activities into a set of missions to address the needs of agricultural development in the Twelfth Five Year Plan. These Missions are:
(i) National Food Security Mission which aims to bridge the yield gap in respect of paddy, wheat, pulses, millet and fodder. The ongoing Integrated Development of Pulses Villages, Promotion of Nutri-cereals and Accelerated Fodder Development Programme would now become a part of this Mission;
(ii) National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture including Micro Irrigation is being taken up as a part of the National Action Plan on Climate Change. The Rainfed Area Development Programme will be merged with this;
(iv) National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology focuses on adoption of appropriate technologies by farmers for improving productivity and efficiency in farm operations; and
(v) National Horticulture Mission aims at horticulture diversification. This will also include the initiative on saffron.
National Mission for Protein Supplement
78. Mission for Protein Supplement is being strengthened. To improve productivity in the dairy sector, a `2,242 crore project is being launched with World Bank assistance. To broaden the scope of production of fish to coastal aquaculture, apart from fresh water aquaculture, the outlay in 2012-13 is being stepped up to `500 crore. Suitable allocations are also being made for poultry, piggery and goat rearing.
79. Farmers need timely access to affordable credit. I propose to raise the target for agricultural credit in 2012-13 to `5,75,000 crore. This represents an increase of ` 1,00,000 crore over the target for the current year.
80. The interest subvention scheme for providing short term crop loans to farmers at 7 per cent interest per annum will be continued in 2012-13. An additional subvention of 3 per cent will be available to prompt paying farmers. In addition, the same interest subvention on post harvest loans up to six months against negotiable warehouse receipt will also be available. This will encourage the farmers to keep their produce in warehouses.
81. A Short term RRB Credit Refinance Fund is being set-up to enhance the capacity of Regional Rural Banks to disburse short term crop loans to the small and marginal farmers. I propose to allocate ` 10,000 crore to NABARD for refinancing the RRBs through this fund.
82. Kisan Credit Card (KCC) is an effective instrument for making agricultural credit available to the farmers. KCC scheme will be modified to make KCC a smart card which could be used at ATMs.
83. Food security and agricultural development in the coming decades would depend upon scientific and technological breakthroughs in raising productivity. We have to develop plant and seed varieties that yield more and can resist climate change. I propose to set aside a sum of ` 200 crore for incentivising research with rewards, both for institutions and the research team responsible for such scientific breakthroughs.
84. Unless we recognise water as a resource, the day is not far when water stress will start threatening our agricultural production. Focus on micro irrigation schemes to dovetail these with water harvesting schemes is necessary. To maximise the flow of benefits from investments in irrigation projects, structural changes in Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) are being made. The allocation for AIBP in 2012-13 is being stepped up by 13 per cent to `14,242 crore.
85. To mobilise large resources to fund irrigation projects, a Government owned Irrigation and Water Resource Finance Company is being operationalised. The Company would start its operations in 2012-13 by focusing on financing sub-sectors like micro-irrigation, contract farming, waste water management and sanitation.
86. A flood management project for Kandi sub-division of Murshidabad District has been approved by the Ganga Flood Control Commission at a cost of ` 439 crore, to be taken up for funding under the Flood Management Programme.
National Mission on Food Processing
87. The food processing sector has been growing at an average rate of over 8 per cent over the past 5 years. In order to have a better outreach and to provide more flexibility to suit local needs, it has been decided that a new centrally sponsored scheme titled “National Mission on Food Processing” would be started, in cooperation with the State Governments in 2012-13.
88. The Government has taken steps to create additional foodgrain storage capacity in the country. Creation of 2 million tonnes of storage capacity in the form of modern silos has already been approved. Nearly 15 million tonnes capacity is being created under the Private Entrepreneur’s Guarantee Scheme, of which 3 million tonnes of storage capacity will be added by the end of 2011-12 and 5 million would be added next year.
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