PM Modi inaugurates several projects in Varanasi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated as well as laid the foundation stone of many development projects in Varanasi yesterday (9 November 2020) through video conference. Modi has launched 16 schemes worth Rs 220 crore and said that the work has already started on 14 schemes worth Rs 400 crore in Varanasi.

The projects inaugurated include infrastructure facilities for protection & conservation of cows, multipurpose seed storehouse, agriculture produce warehouse of 100 MT, upgradation of Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital Ramnagar, Sarnath Light and Sound show, sewerage related works, IPDS phase 2, Varanasi city smart lighting work, a housing complex for players in Sampurnanand Stadium, along with 105 Anganwadi Kendras & 102 Gau Ashray Kendras.

Modi said for the farmers of Varanasi and Purvanchal, many facilities ranging from storage to transport have been developed here like the center of the Milk Processing Plant, International Rice Institute, Construction of Perishable Cargo Center, etc. He said that farmers are benefiting a lot from such facilities. He also expressed happiness that for the first time in this year (2020), vegetables, fruits, and paddy from Varanasi have been exported abroad. He told a godown with a storage capacity of 100 MT launched today would expand the storage facilities for farmers in Kashi. He added that the multi-purpose Seed warehouse & dissemination Center has been launched in Jansa.

Modi said the village poor and farmers are the biggest pillars of AtmaNirbhar Bharat yojana and the biggest beneficiaries too. He said the recent Agri reforms are going to benefit the farmers directly. He also said under the Pradhan SVANidhi Yojana Mantri street vendors are given easy loans, so that they can restart their work after the pandemic.

हरियाणा सरकार ने गन्ना किसानों को दी बड़ी राहत, गन्ने के भाव ₹10 प्रति क्विंटल बढ़ाए

हरियाणा (Haryana) के मुख्यमंत्री मनोहर लाल (Chief Minister Manohar Lal) ने प्रदेश के गन्ना किसानों (Sugarcane farmers) को राहत दी है. मुख्यमंत्री ने गन्ने की फसल के दाम (Price) में प्रति क्विंटल 10 रुपये की बढ़ोत्तरी की है. साथ ही किसानों (Farmers) को कई तरह की  सहूलियतें दीं है.

मुख्यमंत्री ने रबी की फसल बुआई सीजन के लिए 7 जिलों में कृषि नलकूपों के लिए बिजली आपूर्ति को आठ घंटे से बढ़ाकर 10 घंटे कर दिया है. इसके साथ ही किसानों की मांग पर गन्ने के भाव में 10 रुपये प्रति क्विंटल बढ़ाने का निर्णय लिया है और अब ये भाव 340 रुपये प्रति क्विंटल से बढकर 350 रुपये प्रति क्विंटल हो गए हैं, जो देश में सर्वाधिक हैं. मुख्यमंत्री ने कहा कि विपक्ष का काम केवल किसानों के नाम पर दिखावे की राजनीति करना है, जबकि हमारी सरकार किसानों के हित में काम कर रही है. किसानों के हिता में जो भी काम सरकार को दिखाई देता है वह करती है.

वहीं एमबीबीएस की फीस बढ़ाने पर मुख्यमंत्री ने स्पष्ट किया कि एमबीबीएस की फीस जो पहले 60,000 रुपये प्रतिवर्ष थी, उसे बढ़ाकर 80,000 रुपये प्रतिवर्ष किया गया है. उन्होंने कहा कि 10 लाख रुपये का बॉन्ड एमबीबीएस करने वाले सरकारी मेडिकल कॉलेजों के छात्रों से भरवाया जाएगा और यह बॉन्ड सरकारी नौकरी प्राप्त करने के लिए एक प्रावधान होगा. मुख्यमंत्री ने कहा कि विपक्ष इस पर भी अफवाह फैलाने में लगा है, जो सरासर गलत है.

उन्होंने कहा कि प्राईवेट मेडिकल कॉलेजों में तो 12 से 15 लाख रुपये प्रतिवर्ष फीस ली जाती है, जबकि सरकारी कॉलेजों में फीस बढ़ाने के बावजूद पूरी एमबीबीएस पढ़ाई की फीस 4 लाख रुपये में ही पूरी हो जाती है.उन्होंने कहा कि बहुत सारे सरकारी खर्चों के बढ़ने के बाद एमबीबीएस की फीस बढ़ाई गई है, जो बहुत ज्यादा धन राशि नहीं हैं. लेकिन विपक्ष के लोग इसको मुद्दा बनाकर सरकार को घेरने की कोशिश कर रहे हैं, जो ठीक बात नहीं है.


SBI integrates YONO Krishi with IFFCO eBazar

With an aim to digitally empower its farmer customers and make them future-ready, country’s largest lender State Bank of India has facilitated the integration of YONO Krishi with IFFCO eBazar under its Mandi section.

With this integration, SBI’s farmer customers can avail free home delivery of all farming related products in over 27000 plus Pin codes across India from IFFCO eBazar portal.

Over 3 crore registered YONO customers can be benefited with the integration of YONO Krishi and IFFCO eBazar. 

IFFCO eBazar is a subsidiary of IFFCO Limited. Through its online B2C platform IFFCO eBazar sells variety of agro products. The platform is available in 12 languages through App (both Playstore and AppStore) and Portal.  

C. S. Setty, MD (Retail & Digital Banking), SBI said, “With the integration of IFFCO Bazar on YONO Krishi, customers will now be able to purchase the high-quality farm inputs and agri machinery online. This is another step towards fulfilling the vision of the government of doubling the farmer’s income by 2022. With a Digital-First approach, it is part of our continuous endeavor to provide innovative digital banking solutions to all our customers across the country.” 

Since its lunch last year, YONO Krishi platform has been catering to all the farmers’ agricultural needs, from sowing to harvesting.

Available in 10 vernacular languages, besides Hindi and English YONO Krishi is providing convenient and advanced farming experience to the customers.

Telangana minister launches tribal women-owned food processing unit

Allola Indrakaran Reddy, Minister for Endowment, Law, Forest and Environment, Telangana, inaugurated a tribal women-run food processing unit in Utnoor in Adilabad district on Monday (November 2,). The Komaram Bheem Peanut Chikki Industries that the minister opened is wholly owned by first-generation tribal entrepreneurs. The unit will supply to government nutrition programs and anganwadis in the tribal region.

The food processing unit is part of a collaboration between the Tribal Cooperative Finance Corporation (TRICOR), Tribal Welfare Department of Telangana, Government of India’s Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP) of International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). The collaboration aims to localise production and address malnutrition, besides improving economic conditions of tribal communities.

“I am delighted to inaugurate the Komaram Bheem Peanut Chikki Industries in Utnoor today. This unit is a testament to the Telangana government’s commitment to the development and welfare of tribal populations in the state. The unit is owned and run by women is another reason for celebration,” the minister said.

The food processing unit is designed and equipped with machinery as per the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) guidelines. It will ensure the production of nutritious food products meeting national and international market standards. ICRISAT has trained 80 tribal women farmers from Utnoor, Eturnagaram, and Bhadrachalam in Telangana to manage food processing units that are being set up in these blocks.

The project trains tribal women to be “Nutrition Entrepreneurs” and is critical to ensure the evolution of local value chains around local food production and consumption to make vulnerable tribal communities sustainable, especially post COVID-19. Going forward, this initiative will empower tribal communities by establishing more units and build their capacity to run the units in a sustainable manner, contributing towards not only health and nutrition, but sustainable livelihoods as well.


Godrej Agrovet launches ‘high yielding’ oil palm saplings

Edible Oil Yielding Plant

Godrej Agrovet’s Oil Palm Plantation business has launched a new superior high yielding Oil Palm sapling raised out of semi clonal seeds sourced from Malaysia. These saplings were distributed to the farmers under the Godrej Agrovet factory zone in the West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. 

Oil Palm is the most productive edible oil yielding plant in the world and plays a vital role in meeting the vegetable oil requirement of India. However, farmers are unable to maintain the return on investment levels of the past due to relatively low yields of existing saplings (Tenera Hybrids) compounded by environmental stress like low rainfall, drought, etc. The new variety will play a vital role in meeting the vegetable oil demand in India by overcoming these challenges. 

Nasim Ali, CEO of Oil Palm Plantation, Godrej Agrovetsaid, “Agricultural issues created by environmental stress have been directly impacting the farmer’s earnings. Godrej Agrovet has been a frontrunner in serving the Indian farmers for three decades now and will continue to provide innovative solutions. We are expecting to bring around 160 to 170 hectares area under the new variety of the oil palm saplings during October and November 2020 in Andhra Pradesh.” 

Dr R K Mathur, Director, ICAR- IIOPR (Indian Institute of Oil Palm Research),APsaid, “Oil Palm is a perennial crop and the returns from oil palm plantation is higher as compared to other oil seeds. The saplings of high yielding variety from Godrej Agrovet may improve the farmer’s income and thus contribute towards self-reliance in edible oil sector.”   

The new variety of high yield oil palm saplings will eventually be available to Oil Palm farmers and growers pan India, with a special focus on Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Gujarat, Mizoram, and Goa.

Onion and potato prices hit the roof in festive season

Despite being the Navaratra season, onion prices have gone up to Rs 70 per kg in the retail market. The price of potato is also increasing. It is being sold at Rs 50-60 per kg in retail. The supply of onions at the Azadpur wholesale market has been hit because of the rain in the areas where they are produced, including south India. The wholesale prices of onions have increased from Rs 20-30 to Rs 45-55 of late.

Srikant Mishra of Azadpur Union Traders Association said the supply of onions at the wholesale market had come down to almost half and there was no immediate hope of it improving. “On Thursday, the wholesale rate of onion ranged from Rs 40-60 per kg, which was Rs 25-40 per kg over a week ago,” said Mishra.

“Navaratra is a period when demand of onions dips because many families avoid eating onions during the nine days festival. Despite that, better-quality onions are being sold at Rs 70 and above. It may increase further,” said Md Firoz, a retailer in Laxmi Nagar.

Meanwhile, traders said the wholesale prices of potatoes that ranged from Rs 25-35 per kg 10 days ago, had gone up to Rs 40-50 per kg. “The supply of potatoes from Karnataka, which usually starts early October, has been hit this year due to unseasonal rains. The potato stocks were low due to rains in March-April in Punjab,” a trader said. A decline in potato prices is expected in a couple of weeks when its supply from Punjab starts during Diwali.


PM Kisan Samman Nidhi: ये लोग नहीं उठा सकते हैं इस स्कीम का लाभ, जानें क्या है नियम

प्रधानमंत्री किसान सम्मान निधि (PM Kisan Samman Nidhi) योजना शुरुआत के समय से ही देश के अन्नदाताओं के बीच काफी लोकप्रिय है। इस योजना के तहत सरकार देश के किसानों को हर साल तीन बराबर किस्त में 6,000 रुपये हस्तांतरित करती है। इस योजना का लक्ष्य देश के आम किसानों की आय में वृद्धि करना है। हालांकि, कई बार ऐसा देखने को मिलता है कि सरकारी या प्राइवेट नौकरी करने वाले, वकील या डॉक्टर जैसे प्रोफेशनल भी खेती-किसानी का काम करते हैं। अब सवाल ये उठता है कि क्या इन लोगों को इस योजना का लाभ मिलेगा कि नहीं।  

आइए जानते हैं कि कौन लोग पीएम-किसान स्कीम का लाभ नहीं उठा सकते हैंः

1. PM Kisan की आधिकारिक वेबसाइट के मुताबिक संस्थागत भूमि धारकों को इस स्कीम का लाभ नहीं मिलेगा।

2. संवैधानिक पद पर पूर्व या वर्तमान में आसीन लोग।

3. वर्तमान या पूर्व मंत्री, वर्तमान या पूर्व सांसद, वर्तमान या पूर्व विधायक और विधान पार्षद, किसी नगर निगम के वर्तमान या पूर्व मेयर, जिला पंचायत के वर्तमान या पूर्व चेयरमैन।

4. मल्टी टास्किंग या ग्रुप-4 या ग्रुप-डी कर्मचारियों को छोड़कर सभी कार्यरत या सेवामुक्त हो चुके केंद्र या राज्य सरकार या केंद्र या राज्य पीएसई के कर्मचारी।

5. मल्टी टास्किंग या ग्रुप-4 या ग्रुप-डी को छोड़कर 10,000 रुपये से अधिक की मासिक पेंशन प्राप्त करने वाले सभी पेंशनर।

6. पिछले आकलन वर्ष में इनकम टैक्स भरने वाले किसान।

7. डॉक्टर, वकील, इंजीनियर, सीए और आर्किटेक्ट जैसे प्रोफेशनल अगर खेती करते हैं तो भी उन्हें इस योजना का लाभ नहीं मिलेगा।

8. अगर आपका खेत आपके पिता या दादा के नाम पर है तो भी आपको हर साल 6,000 रुपये की सीधी आर्थिक सहायता नहीं मिलेगी। पीएम किसान योजना का लाभ प्राप्त करने के लिए जमीन आपके नाम पर होनी चाहिए। 

9. अगर आप किराए पर दूसरे की जमीन लेकर खेती करते हैं तो आपको इस योजना का लाभ नहीं मिलेगा।

10. अगर आपने रजिस्ट्रेशन फॉर्म में जानबूझकर कोई गलत जानकारी दी है तो आपको इस योजना का लाभ नहीं मिलेगा।  


Cultivation of heeng begins in India, for the very first time

Heeng, or asafoetida is a key ingredient, available in every kitchen across India. It is used to add taste and fragrance in many dishes. It sometimes replaced by garlic in Indian kitchens during fast or spiritual reasons. It is known for its many medicinal properties as well — often used by naturopaths to treat kidney stones, bronchitis and even whooping cough.

But did you know it is not cultivated in India, always imported from other countries, Afghanistan, Iran, and Uzbekistan, at a staggering cost of almost Rs900 crores every year.

The CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT), Palampur, has started cultivating heeng for the first time in the state as well as in the country.

Why wasn’t heeng cultivated in India?

Speaking on the subject, Dr Shekhar Mande, Director General of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Delhi explained, “We began research on growing heeng locally since 2016. Heeng can only grow in very cold and certain geo-climatic regions such as Ladakh and Lahaul-Spiti. Before this, it was only being imported from countries like Afghanistan and Iran.

Dr. Sanjay Kumar, director of the institute, initiated the program by planting heeng seedlings at Kwaring village in Lahaul and Spiti, a cold-dry district of Himachal Pradesh.

How will heeng be grown in India?

A team of scientists from CSIR-IHBT persistently worked to introduce heeng in India. The institute introduced six accessions of seeds from Iran via ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (ICAR-NBPGR), New Delhi in October 2018.

ICAR-NBPGR substantiated that this is the first attempt in the past 30 years to introduce heeng in the country.

CSIR-IHBT raised the condiment’s plants at CeHAB, Ribling, Lahaul Spiti, under the surveillance of NBPGR. The plant needs dry and cold conditions to grow and takes around five years for production of oleo gum resin, which it stores in its roots.

Asafoetida is one of the top condiments and is a high-value spice crop in India. Lack of planting material of ferula assa-foetida plants in India was a major bottleneck in the cultivation of this crop.


Celebrated “Rashtriya Mahila Kisan Diwas” on 15 Oct

Rashtriya Mahila Kisan Diwas celebrated to acknowledge the contribution of women farmers in various aspects of agriculture. It was decided in 2016 that 15 Oct will be celebrated as “Rashtriya Mahila Kisan Diwas” by Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year Rashtriya Mahila Kisan Diwas was organized through video conferencing by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare to felicitate the women farmers of India.

This event was held under the guidance of Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare which was graced by Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Sanjay Agarwal, Secretary (AC&FW), and other senior officers of the Department.

During this event,  the e-book on ‘Inspiring Stories of Progressive Women Farmers’ was released and two short video films on ‘Mahila Krishak and her Contribution in Agriculture’ and ‘Global Examples of Successful Women Farmers’ were launched.


Three ordinances and a protest: Why farmers in Haryana and Punjab are angry

These protests, preceded by sit-ins across Punjab, are expected to gather steam after September 14, when Parliament convenes for the Monsoon Session.

Three ordinances and a protest: Why farmers in Haryana and Punjab are angry

On Thursday, farmer organisations in Haryana defied prohibitory orders imposed amid the pandemic to hold a rally at the Pipli wholesale grain market near Kurukshetra. They even blocked the Delhi-Chandigarh national highway for a couple of hours, when the police initially did not allow them to move to the venue. Their target was three central laws promulgated through ordinances on June 5: The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020. These protests, preceded by sit-ins across Punjab, are expected to gather steam after September 14, when Parliament convenes for the Monsoon Session.

Why farmers in Haryana and Punjab are angry

How widespread are the agitations in Haryana?

For now, these seem largely limited to Punjab and Haryana. Farmer leaders in Maharashtra, including Raju Shetti of Swabhimani Paksha and Anil Ghanwat of Shetkari Sanghatana, have actually welcomed the ordinances. Shetti, a two-time Lok Sabha MP, has called them “the first step towards financial freedom for farmers”.

The opposition by farmer groups in Punjab and Haryana, too, is primarily to the first ordinance that allows sale and purchase of crops to take place outside state government-regulated APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) mandis. They probably have no real issues with the other two ordinances — which basically do away with the imposition of stockholding limits on foodstuffs (except under “extraordinary circumstances” such as war and natural calamities of grave nature) and facilitate contraction cultivation (wherein farmers can enter into agreements with buyers before any planting season).

What is the first ordinance about?

In a letter to Sukhbir Singh Badal, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (which is part of the ruling alliance at the Centre), Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has said that the ordinance merely provides for “trade areas” outside the physical boundaries of APMC mandis. These would serve as an “additional marketing channel” for farmers, even as the APMCs “will continue to function”. The freedom of choice to sell outside the regulated mandis should help farmers realise better prices for their produce. Further, it “will motivate APMCs to improve their efficiency of operations substantially to serve the farmers better”. The APMCs can levy mandi fees and other charges as before, but these will be only in respect of transactions happening within the physical boundary of their principal marketing yards or sub-yards.

So, what’s fuelling the protests?

There are two drivers. The first is the farmers, who view the dismantling of the monopoly of APMCs as a precursor to ending the existing system of government grain procurement at assured minimum support prices (MSP). In 2019-20 alone, government agencies in Punjab and Haryana purchased 226.56 lakh tonnes (lt) of paddy and 201.14 lt of wheat , whose value – at their respective MSPs of Rs 1,835 and Rs 1,925 per quintal – would have been Rs 80,293.21 crore.

The ordinance itself does not mention anything, directly or indirectly, to suggest an end or phasing out of MSP-based government procurement. But farmer leaders contend that the true intent of the latest reforms is to implement the recommendations of the Shanta Kumar-headed High Level Committee on Restructuring of Food Corporation of India (FCI). This panel, which submitted its report in 2015, had called for FCI handing over all procurement operations in Punjab, Haryana, MP, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to state government agencies.

“The committee wanted that the Centre exit procurement and leave everything to the states. Where do they have the money for procuring and stocking so much grain? This… is only meant as an exit strategy for the Centre,” alleged Jagmohan Singh, general secretary of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda faction).

The Congress government in Punjab, too, passed a resolution in the Assembly on August 28 urging the Centre to make MSP-based procurement “a statutory right of the farmers”. Besides, it sought a “continuation” of such procurement through the FCI.

What is the second driver for the protests?

That’s coming from the state governments and arhatiyas (commission agents) in mandis. The arhatiyas (Punjab alone has some 28,000 of them) provide platforms outside their shops, where the produce of farmers is unloaded, cleaned, auctioned, weighed and bagged, before being loaded and moved out. They receive a 2.5% commission over and above the MSP. These payments aggregated over Rs 2,000 crore in Punjab and Haryana last year.

States also earn substantial money from the various levies on the value of produce transacted in APMCs. Punjab’s annual revenues from mandi fees and a ‘rural development’ cess — which add up to 6% on paddy and wheat, 4% on basmati, and 2% on cotton and maize — are estimated at Rs 3,500-3,600 crore. All that would obviously get hit if trades were to move away from the mandis.