Taking a cue from the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, the Himachal Pradesh Government has set the target of doubling the income of farmers by the year 2022 by augmenting irrigation facilities and launching new schemes like ‘Jal se Krishi ko bal’, Flow Irrigation Scheme’, and ‘Solar Irrigation Scheme’.
Under these schemes, Rs. 250, 150 and 200 crores have been sanctioned. Apart from this under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Irrigation Scheme, new units of 111 minor irrigation schemes have been set up and a sum of Rs. 338 crore has been sanctioned for it.
First installment of Rs. 49 crore in form of central assistance has already been received. Simultaneously, a budget of Rs. 277 crore has been made for the development of small irrigation schemes in the state. The State Government has already sent the proposal of Rs. 800 crore to Central Government to strengthen the irrigation facilities and to repair old irrigation and drinking water sources. In addition to this, Government has reduced the current tariff of electricity for irrigation from Rs. 1 per unit to 75 paisa per unit, which will facilitate lakhs of farmers of the state.
In view of increasing the income of farmers of the State, the Cabinet has approved the guidelines for the implementation of ‘Natural Farming-Khushal Kisan’ scheme. Under the scheme, the income of farmers will increase manifold through natural farming and a provision of Rs. 25 crores has been made for the implementation of this scheme. This scheme will give the new direction to natural agriculture and farmers will get encouraged to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers.
State Agriculture University will prepare the package of practices for implementation of this scheme. Himachal Pradesh being the only state where 89.96 percent of the population lives in rural areas, therefore the dependency on agriculture and horticulture is much higher as compared to other states. Here Agriculture is the main occupation of the people which plays an important role in strengthening the economy of the State.
There is a vast scope in agriculture and horticulture in the state, due to which 62 percent of states people get employment in the agriculture sector. It is the main source of income for people of State and about 10 percent domestic product of state comes from agriculture and related areas.
To boost up the agriculture sector and many other new schemes have been proposed so that people get maximum employment in this area and at the same time their income.
The State Government is making every possible effort to strengthen the economy with full commitment to double the income of farmers by 2022 as has been announced by the Prime Minister.
To provide new direction to the agriculture in the State the State Government has taken a decision to bring additional area under fruit and vegetable production in the State. Presently JICA Crop Diversification Scheme has been implemented in five districts of the State. Now, the second phase of this scheme will be implemented in all the districts at a cost of Rs. 1000 crore. Under ‘YS Parmar Kisan Swarojgar Yojna’, Poly-houses will be constructed for the promotion of safe farming in the State. The budget of Rs. 23 crore has been made for this during the year 2018-19. For the protection of farmer’s crop from monkeys, wild animals, and stray cattles, a provision of 35 crores has been made. Under ‘Chief Minister’s Farm Protection Scheme’, farmers will be given 85 percent subsidy for solar fencing.
Apart from this, the State government is trying to double the income of the farmers by expanding activities in various sectors of agriculture such as flower cultivation, bee-keeping, fisheries and dairy production.
Mechanization of agriculture due to the shortage of manpower is the demand of time. Many farmers are unable to purchase farming equipments such as tractor, power wielder, power tiller due to its higher prices. For this, Government will set up ‘Agriculture Facilitation Centers’ and farmers will be able to get the necessary expensive equipment on rent. To establish these centers, the government will provide 40 percent subsidy on instruments costing up to 25 lakh to the farmers and youth entrepreneurs. To provide equipments like tillers, potter, weaver, a provision of Rs. 32 crore has been made by the government.
Under the measure to reduce the cost of production, for balanced utilization of nutrients in the year 2018-19 all the farmers will be brought under soil health card scheme. For the establishment of pesticide plant provision of 50 percent investment subsidy has been made.
Recently 13 research centers and eight science centers have been made functional to provide advanced and latest information on agriculture and horticulture to farmers. Connecting to the farmers through the WhatsApp application the Government has taken this positive initiative. This has led to the quick solution to the farmers. To redress the grievances of farmers on priority basis, agriculture departments tall free helpline number ‘1550’ has been made functional.