'No policy to help family of farmers commit suicide'

Minister of State for Panchayati Raj Parshottam Rupala peaks in the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament. (PTI Photo)

There is no provision in government's existing policy to provide assistance to the family of farmers who committed suicide, Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Parshottam Rupala said in Rajya Sabha on Friday.

Rupala was replying to a supplementary during Question Hour in the Upper House.

"There is no provision in the policy of the government to provide any assistance to farmers who committed suicide," Rupala said while replying to a query as to whether the government has provided any relief to the kith and kin of farmers who committed suicide.

However, he said the Agriculture Department of the government has taken up a number of programmes to improve the condition of farmers.

He said loans to distressed farmers and to other persons, not exceeding Rs 1 lakh per borrower, indebted to non-institutional lenders is an eligible category under priority sector lending as per RBI's directions.

Under the Kisan Credit Card (KCC), a flexible limit of Rs 10,000-50,000 has been provided to marginal farmers based on the landholding and crop grown for post-harvest storage-related credit needs, he said.

RBI has also issued directions for relief measures to be provided by respective lending institutions in areas affected by natural calamities.

Besides, the government has also introduced an interest subvention scheme for short-term crop loans up to Rs 3 lakh, he added.

The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidi scheme has been started to provide income support to farmers' families holding cultivable land to enable them to take care of expenses related to agriculture and allied activities as well as domestic needs so as to protect them from the debt trap.

Under the scheme, a financial benefit of Rs 6,000 per year is provided in three four-monthly instalments of Rs 2,000 to farmers' families.

Agriculture credit targets have also been enhanced from Rs 9 lakh crore in 2016-17 to Rs 13.5 lakh crore in 2019-20.

In reply to another supplementary, he said there is a provision to provide 100 subsidies to state governments for a 200-tonne unit to promote organic farming.

Besides, there is a provision of 25 per cent assistance for loans up to Rs 40 lakh to entrepreneurs for organic fertiliser facility and Rs 50,000 a year for farmers interested in it, he said.

He also appealed to the Members of Parliament (MPs) to ensure KCCs to farmers through banks in their respective areas.

The use of fertilisers is increasing in the country, but the government is trying to create awareness in this direction, he said.

The Minister said the total consumption of major fertilisers in 2019-20 (up to October) was at 349 LMT (lakh metric tonnes) and added that the government has been promoting soil test based integrated nutrient management for balanced and judicious use of fertilisers.

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