Subsidy on seeds hiked to Rs 288 cr; rainfall deficit down

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 22:59

New Delhi: The government on Tuesday announced
increasing subsidy on seeds of different crops to Rs 288 crore
to mitigate the impact of drought and expressed hope that
kharif losses are made up to some extent, especially now that
rainfall has improved.

"We have decided to distribute good quality seeds in time
to farmers and have stepped up subsidy to the extent of Rs 288
crore so that farmers get subsidy directly, which will get
reflected in the pricing of seeds," Finance Minister Pranab
Mukherjee told reporters after the first meeting of the
Empowered Group of Ministers on drought.

Mukherjee noted that rainfall deficiency has reduced to
26 per cent from earlier 36-37 per cent. "The recent rain has
improved the situation to some extent though still there is
deficiency. Earlier, it was apprenhended that deficit would be
to the extent of 36-37 per cent but now with the recent rains
it has come down to 26 per cent.

As many as 246 districts out of 600-plus districts in the
country have been declared drought-affected.

"The timely measures which we have taken to protect the
standing kharif crops in some states have yielded results. But
what would be final outcome could be assessed after the
harvest," Mukherjee said.
Besides Mukherjee, other members of EGoM --Agriculture
Minister Sharad Pawar, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Railway
Minister Mamata Banerjee, Rural Development Minister C P
Joshi, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora and Deputy Chairman of
Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia --also who attended
the meeting.

When contacted Agriculture Commissioner N B Singh told
a news agency that the subsidy on prices of pulse seeds will be raised
to Rs 2,000 per quintal from the current Rs 1,300.

Similarly, some subsidy would be offered on wheat seeds,
Singh added without, however, elaborating on the details about
those of other crops.

The Centre has over 15 lakh tonnes of surplus seeds.

Bureau Report

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First Published: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 22:59

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