Centre convenes agri officials meet over contingency plan

Centre convenes agri officials meet over contingency plan

With the monsoon, predicted to be below-normal, threatening to derail the Narendra Modi-led government’s economic revival agenda, the Ministry of Agriculture has convened a meeting of state agriculture commissioners and secretaries this week to discuss their preparedness in the event of low rainfall or a drought.

The two-day meeting is likely to be held on June 17 and 18, which will be addressed by Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and officials of other related departments.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday reviewed the situation and discussed a contingency plan for 500 districts to meet the situation arising out of a possible poor monsoon. 

In the meeting, which was attended by Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, Fertiliser Minister Ananth Kumar, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati, Food and Consumers Affairs Ram Vilas Paswan, the PM reviewed in detail various issues relating to agriculture, rural development, water resources, organic farming, fertilisers and chemicals and animal husbandry.

The Agriculture Ministry has already allowed states to spend about Rs 900 crore on appropriate measures to fight inadequate rainfall. The fund has been made available by allowing states to keep aside 10 per cent of their annual allocations under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.

The ministry is also preparing to seek cabinet approval to provide 50 per cent subsidy on diesel used in the sector and restructure short-term crop loans. 

Agriculture Secretary Ashish Bahuguna also visited several states and reviewed the agriculture situation particularly on the issue of fighting against drought situation last month. 

Hyderabad-based Central Research Institute on Dryland Agriculture had prepared a contingency plan for more than 500 districts across the country. 

The Ministry also asked states to plan for the diversification of crops, ensure adequate input supplies as well as better adoption of drought-tolerant crop varieties and firm up strategies to ensure that there is sufficient fodder output, among other measures. 

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