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‘Climate Smart Village’ Initiative: Madhya Pradesh is all set to make its Villages smarter!

 The project will incur a cost of Rs. 150 crore every year and will include 100 villages in each of the 11 agro-climatic zones of the state

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Madhya Pradesh's initiative of smarter villages
Agricultural farms in India (Representational Image), pixabay

Bhopal, December 30, 2016: Madhya Pradesh is all set to make its villages smarter. This has prompted them to set an ambitious plan to develop 1,100 ‘climate smart villages’ with an aim to prepare the farmers combat the climate change risks and ensure better productivity.

“The government has been planning to develop 1,100 villages as climate-smart villages in a period of next six years,” said Dr. Rajesh Rajora, who is state Farmer Welfare and Agriculture Development Department Principal Secretary, mentioned PTI report.

The project will incur a cost of Rs. 150 crore every year and will include 100 villages in each of the 11 agro-climatic zones of the state, said Dr. Rajora. He also said that “ The work is being taken up under the National Agriculture Development Programme (NADP) and Indian National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture.”

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In addition to using drought-resistance seeds, the farmers will also be encouraged to go for short duration variety of crops.

“The focus would be on integrated agriculture, which comprises animal husbandry, fisheries, in addition to traditional farming. Agro-forestry would also be adopted in these villages,” Rajora said. It conserves and protects the natural resources as it helps water retention and stops soil erosion.

He mentioned that integrated nutrients management would also be implemented to help in soil fertility and plant nutrients supply through optimization of all possible sources of organic, inorganic and biological components.

Rajora said, “In addition, the integrated pest management, zero tillage, raised bed gardening techniques and micro-irrigation would also be introduced in the climate smart villages. This would help farmers to increase the productivity amid all challenges of climate change,”.

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The technique of growing crops, time and again, without disturbing the soil through ploughing is known as zero tillage method, another agricultural expert said. He said “The micro-irrigation systems like drip and sprinklers would not only reduce the water use but also lessen the use of fertilizers and energy.”

International Crop Research Institute for Semi  Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) will help the state government in this initiative, said Rajora. Along with this an international NGO working in the field of agriculture and Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a global agriculture research partnership will also take an active part in this program.

While mentioning the partner organization Rajora said “ The Centre has set ICISAT, the UN organization, as nodal agency for developing the climate-smart villages. We would also seek expertise from scientists of two agriculture universities at Jabalpur and Gwalior in addition to state government’s scientists in various district headquarters,” mentioned PTI.

According to agriculture department officials, various equipment and sensors would also be used in these villages to help the farmers.

Block level soil testing laboratory will soon be opened as said by the state government. A plan is also on the anvil to provide soil health cards to farmers under state government’s efforts to double farmer’s income in five years. ‘Krishi Cabinet’ has been constituted to ensure sustainable agricultural growth. The cabinet comprises of ministers of agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, fisheries, cooperatives, water resources, Narmada valley development, energy, panchayat, rural development and SC/ST welfare departments.

MP had also received Krishi Karman award for 2014-15, the fourth during past five years, for increasing the food grains production and productivity by 254 lakh tonnes and 1,719 kg per hectare, respectively. Government has also claimed to have increased the irrigated agriculture area to 40 lakh hectares from 7 lakh hectares in 2003.

prepared by Saptaparni Goon of NewsGram. Twitter: @saptaparni_goon

 

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With The Elections Coming Up, Indian Government Promises Farmers Their Income Support

The government said the fiscal deficit this year will rise from 3.3 percent to 3.4 percent due to the outlay for the income scheme for farmers.

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Farmers, India
An Indian woman helps her farmer husband irrigate a paddy field using a traditional system, on the outskirts of Gauhati, India, Feb. 1, 2019. VOA

With an eye on wooing voters ahead of what is expected to be a tough national election, India’s Hindu nationalist government announced cash handouts of billions of dollars for poor farmers.

In the annual budget presented in parliament Friday, interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said 120 million farmers with less than two hectares of land would get an income of $85 a year.

Goyal announced that the measure, which will cost about $10.5 billion, would be implemented with immediate effect. “This will pave the way for them to earn a respectable living,” he said. “Such support will help them avoid indebtedness.”

India, Farmers
Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, center, holds a briefcase containing federal budget documents with Junior Finance ministers Shiv Pratap Shukla, center right, and Pon Radhakrishnan, left, upon their arrival at the parliament house in New Delhi, India, Feb. 1, 2019. VOA

Farmers complain that a sharp decline in crop prices has hurt their incomes and driven millions into debt. Rural experts said they were not sure whether the measure will assuage disgruntled rural communities that have been demanding loan waivers and better prices for their produce.

The government also announced a pension scheme of about $40 a month for nearly 100 million poor workers in the country’s vast unorganized sector and tax breaks for the middle classes.

The welfare measures come as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party tries to address rising discontent in the country — there is growing anger in rural areas over falling crop prices and widespread worries that his government has failed to create jobs to meet the needs of the country’s huge young population.

The Bharatiya Janata Party recently lost elections in three heartland states, raising concerns it could struggle to win a majority in the upcoming elections. Modi had sailed to power in 2014 on the promise of creating millions of jobs.

Modi, India, Farmers
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, is garlanded by BJP leaders on the first day of the two-day Bharatiya Janata Party national convention in New Delhi, Jan. 11, 2019. VOA

Although economic growth numbers have been good, lack of jobs has emerged as the biggest challenge for Modi. A report in the Business Standard newspaper says a government survey that has not been released pegs the unemployment rate at a 45-year high of 6.1 percent.

Expressing optimism that “India is solidly back on track and marching towards growth and prosperity,” Goyal said that infrastructure projects such as building roads in rural areas will boost employment.

The opposition Congress Party slammed the income support of $85 a year announced for farmers as inadequate. Saying that it is not going to be transformational, senior party leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted, “₹6000 [6,000 rupees, or $84] in income support for farmers boils down to ₹500 [500 rupees, or $7] per month. Is that supposed to enable them to live with the honor and dignity?”

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The Congress Party is also trying to woo voters with the promise of a minimum income for the poor if it wins the upcoming general election. The BJP has dismissed the pledge as unaffordable, while economists have expressed concern that the “competitive populism” by India’s two main parties ahead of general elections could strain the country’s finances.

The government said the fiscal deficit this year will rise from 3.3 percent to 3.4 percent due to the outlay for the income scheme for farmers. (VOA)