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

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

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