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Wheat nears harvest, Punjab farmers yet to get seed subsidy

The Centre provides 60% of the subsidy under the National Food Security Mission (NFSM) and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), and has already transferred funds into the state’s accounts, said officials who did not want to be named as they are not authorised to speak to the media.

punjab Updated: Feb 17, 2018 09:25 IST
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Wheat,harvest,Punjab farmers
Farmers are given this subsidy to maintain crop quality during the rabi and kharif seasons every year.(HT Photo)

The grain has started setting in the wheat sown three months ago, and harvest is less than two months away; but eligible farmers, owning up to five acres, in Punjab are still awaiting subsidy on seed that normatively should have been paid before sowing.

Every year in the rabi (wheat) and kharif (paddy) seasons, farmers are given this subsidy to maintain crop quality, as part of extension services run by the state agriculture directorate.This time, 1.68 lakh farmers were selected, covering 2.6 lakh hectares, for a subsidy of Rs 1,000 per quintal that costs farmers Rs 2,600. One quintal is required for one hectare of wheat. The crop’s procurement starts from April 1.

The agriculture department gave clearance for release of Rs 7.5 crore, and the next is release from the finance department. But the major chunk — Rs 17.5 crore — still remains pending for clearance with the agriculture department.“We are to get Rs 7.5 crore very soon,” said JS Bains, the state’s agriculture director, adding merely, “Once we get the money, it will reach farmers in a week.”

The Centre provides 60% of the subsidy under the National Food Security Mission (NFSM) and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), and has already transferred funds into the state’s accounts, said officials who did not want to be named as they are not authorised to speak to the media.

This non-payment exposes the seriousness of the state government towards welfare of farmers,” said Harmeet Singh, president of a faction of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), “The basic thing for a crop is seed. And the subsidy in proportion to the wheat grown in Punjab is negligible anyway.”

He added that the directorate does not give seed subsidy for mustard and maize, “which means government is not interested in diversification of crops”.

First Published: Feb 17, 2018 09:24 IST