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Relief for distressed farmers: Prime Minister Narendra Modi increases input subsidy by 50 per cent

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

Expressing grief over the crop loss suffered by farmers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that the input subsidy given to distressed farmers will be enhanced by 50 per cent of the existing amounts. He said this was a major departure from the incremental changes in input subsidy that had been made hitherto.

Announcing a landmark change in norms for input subsidy, the Prime Minister said farmers will now be eligible for input subsidy if 33 percent of their crop has been damaged, as opposed to 50 percent or more, which was the norm till now.

The Prime Minister expressed concern over the problems faced by farmers due to abnormal weather over the past year. He said that helping the farmer in this time of distress is our responsibility, and therefore, the Government had sent teams of Central Ministers to affected areas, to assess the extent of damage. He said the Union and State Governments, the banks and insurance companies would all do their utmost to provide relief to the farmers.

The announcements were made by the Prime Minister in his address during the launch of the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana.

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India to Set up Bio-Gas Plants to Tackle Pollution, but Experts Unsure

India Plans Bio-Gas Plants to Tackle Toxic Pollution, But Experts Skeptical

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Farmer India
An Indian farmer walks through his paddy field as he burns the paddy husk in Chandigarh, India. VOA

India is planning to set up more than 100 bio-gas plants and provide thousands of farmers with machines to dispose of crop stubble in a bid to halt the choking crop-burning pollution that blights the country every winter.

A major source of the smog that engulfs vast swathes of northern India, including the capital New Delhi, is the burning the straw and stubble of the previous rice crop to prepare for new planting in October and November.

New Delhi is regularly judged to be one of the world’s most polluted major cities.

Government-backed Indian Oil Corp Ltd will invite private companies to apply to set up 140 bio-gas plants that will use rice stubble as feed stock, said two government officials, who didn’t wish to be identified in line with official policy.

The plants would cost 35 billion rupees ($487.67 million) and each would require two tons of crop residue every hour for at least 300 days to produce “an optimum amount” of compressed natural gas (CNG), one of the sources said.

The government would earmark funds for the project that would make it attractive for farmers to sell their waste rather than burn it, they said.

India pollution
A woman crosses a railway line on a smoggy morning in New Delhi, India. VOA

The stubble pollution has become more acute in recent years because mechanized harvesters leave more residue than crops plucked by hand.

Other than helping farmers sell their residue to the new bio-gas plants, the government would provide 100,000 new machines every year to farmers to dispose of the farm waste in their fields, the sources said.

“We’ll give farmers the choice to either get rid of crop residue or sell it to the bio CNG plants,” one of the sources said.

Doubts persist

Environmental experts were skeptical.

Also Read- Pollution-Linked Deaths Highest in India: Study

“Given the amount of resources that the government has, what will decide the efficacy of this plan is consistent engagement with farmers,” said Nandikesh Sivalingam, a program manager for Greenpeace.

“But if you expect results next winter, it can’t happen.” (VOA)