Indian Agriculture goes Hi-Tech with New Technologies like AI, ML, and IoT

With the advent of AI, Machine Learning and IoT, the ecosystem of agriculture in India will be backed heavily by technology.

new technology in agriculture

As India still grapples with the ongoing agrarian crisis, a ray of hope emerges with Agriculture technology taking the reins. For a nation that has maximum livelihood in agriculture, government policies and acceptance of new technology have shown great results. While there has been a consistent rise in internal demand, the exports have increased multifold at US$ 38.54 billion in 2019. But, can new technology in agriculture be a saviour for India? 

“Meet Ravi, he is a young farmer from Satara, Maharashtra. Ravi just completed his B.Tech in Agriculture Engineering and is now helping father, a farmer, in taking care of their farmlands. 

Being tech-savvy and bright, Ravi managed to increase the farm output by triple while reducing operational costs and losses by 32%! 

How did he do that? Imagine this if you may-

Ravi uses mobile apps introduced by the government to check market trends on the selling prices of various crops that can grow in his farms. He then jumps onto the weather prediction apps to predict the conditions for the next 6-8 months and prepare accordingly. 

He has proactively installed sensors in his farm that measure the soil pH balance, salinity, fertility and more such parameters that are analyzed and pushed into government-run BI system. This system makes accurate predictions for crop sowing decisions. 

Adding to this, Ravi has also brought in a drone that creates a virtual map of this farm, so farmers can plan and begin farming. Once the decisions are made, Ravi relies heavily on technology throughout the season to manage his farms with automated tasks from water cycles to pesticides via various sensors and devices he has installed, allowing him to control everything at a click. “

The effort towards powering Agriculture technology in India has been genuine and has seen remarkable results as well. Delving deeper into use cases and developing systems for the future, let’s see what new technologies are transforming agriculture. 

What are the new technologies in agriculture in India? 

Artificial Intelligence 

For the growth of agriculture, it is essential to identify factors that can contribute to better yield and place of harvest. With AI tools entering the new technology space in agriculture, it becomes possible to reach solutions based data that indicates weather conditions, type of harvest a crop would need, the type of soil most suitable, etc.  

Government schemes like Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) will be welcoming AI technology to reduce the time consumption in settling claims of the farmers. The government also signed an MoU with IBM to monitor the agriculture sector with AI. 

Mobile Applications

When smartphones became a regular commodity for Indians, the deep penetration of digitalization was felt across the country. As more and more activities moved to the smartphone, the new technology boosted the potential of applications for agricultural purposes as well. 

The government has majorly focused on backing the use of technology in agriculture with E- Nam (National Agriculture Market) an electronic trading portal for agricultural commodities.  There have been individual initiatives taken by some states that benefit farmers. 

For example, Punjab introduced ‘Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC) that sensitizes farmers on crop residue burning and measuring air quality.  It has 3 applications under it- i-Khet Machine, e-PeHal, and e-Prevent. 

Drones

When we imagine the basic functioning of a drone we can assume that it will float through crops and collect data. But, there is more to drones than that. What kind of data can it collect and why is it beneficial? For precision or smart farming, drones bring efficiency with accurate information reducing uncertainty while decision making. By using the correct sensors, drones can provide farmers with real-time information regarding their crops, soil deterioration, dry regions, fungal infections, etc. 

This information can be relayed to farmers in a readable format so they are able to gauge which area needs irrigation and better techniques. Adding to this, drones can be used for spraying purposes. 

In India, drones have been used for corn or maize fields in Andhra Pradesh. 

Big Data Analytics

The tedious process of maintaining land records and their potential to become crop producers can be succeeded by Big Data analytics. When we speak about new technology in agriculture, conquering redundant and menial tasks is where progress is expected. After witnessing the jump from statistics to big data, what can Agritech expect from data? 

One of the things that bid data analytics solves for the agriculture industry is giving real-time insights. It will help farmers immediately identify if their techniques are working, are their inputs correct and what do they need to prepare for in case of weather changes. 

When they are able to draw out valuable insights from this information they will be able to serve their customers on a timely and customized basis. 

Concluding… 

The Indian agriculture sector is a major concern for the government and introducing new technology will be the best way forward. A lot of private companies that build robots, data analytics tools and drones have taken a keen interest in the agriculture sector. With effort from companies and the right implementation of policies, the Agritech business should hopefully begin to flourish. 

Punctured cover: India’s crop insurance scheme loses sheen

Three years and seven crop seasons after it was rolled out, nobody seems to be happy with the Centre’s flagship farm insurance scheme, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. While the number of farmers enrolling under the scheme has gone down, insurance companies too are pulling out of it.

Ahead of the 2019-20 crop season, three private companies — ICICI Lombard, Tata AIG and Cholamandalam MS — did not bid for the rabi (mid-November to May) and kharif (June to October) seasons due to heavy losses in the 2018 kharif season. 

This is a worrying trend as the scheme, rolled out during the 2016 kharif season, is largely spearheaded by private players. It started with 10 private insurance companies and just one public insurance company.

During rabi 2016-17, five more companies were empanelled, four of which were government-run. This was the season private player Shriram General Insurance exited from the scheme due to losses. In kharif 2017, two additional private companies joined the scheme taking the total list of empanelled companies to 17. Now, the scheme is left with 14 companies, nine of which are private-run. 

While the companies are tight lipped over the reasons for the exit, data clearly tell the story. Profit of an insurance company depends on the claim ratio — the percentage of amount paid as claims in relation to the premium earned.

ICICI Lombard and Cholamandalam had made some profits in the first year of the scheme as their claim ratio was 79 per cent and 61 per cent respectively; but they made heavy losses thereafter. Tata AIG made losses in all the three years with over 100 per cent claim ratio.

In fact, most of the insurance companies incurred losses in 2018 kharif season, with nine states — which include Haryana and Maharashtra — recording over 100 per cent claim ratios.

In another four states, claim ratios were lower than 100 per cent but higher than the India average of 76 per cent, according to the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.

In Goa, which had the highest claim ratio, insurance companies had to pay out Rs 2.8 for every rupee they collected as premium. In Haryana, it was Rs 1.4. The assessment of rabi 2018-19 is still underway, but companies say a large number of claims have already been filed.



There are two distinct reasons behind the high claim ratio: Surge in extreme weather events and alleged political interference in crop loss estimation. 

The data of 2016-17, updated till December 2017, shows extreme weather events affected 2.6 million hectares of cropped area in the country. In 2017-18, updated till December 2018, the share nearly doubled to 4.7 million hectares, suggests EnviStats India 2019, released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. 

Rajeev Chaudhary, chairperson and managing director of government-run Agriculture Insurance Company Ltd (AICL), says traditionally insurance companies would incur losses during the rabi season, which is associated with freak weather events, and earn profits during the kharif season. “So, we would make a profit of 10-15 per cent every year. This is no longer true,” says he.

What adds to the companies’ losses is the fact that the scheme covers farmers in the pre-sowing as well as the post-harvest periods, unlike traditional insurance schemes that cover just standing crops.

“Most farmers now apply for post-harvest losses, and no insurance company has the infrastructure to verify them,” says Chaudhary. He estimates the claims in 2019 kharif season will be the highest ever due to prolonged rainfall in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh that damaged key crops such as pulses and cotton. 

A senior AICL officer, on conditions of anonymity, says in Maharashtra more than 2.5 million farmers had already applied for 100 per cent insurance money till the first week of November. “The insurance companies in the state will go bankrupt if they honour all the claims,” he adds.

Most insurance agents Down to Earth spoke to also allege that local politicians and state governments inflate the loss estimation under the crop cutting experiment, which is carried out to ascertain the extent of crop damage.

“In a way, private insurance companies are pitted against state governments who are blindly approving claims without site visits and then asking us to pay up,” says a private insurance agent in Gujarat. Media reports suggest that the Rajasthan government asked Tata AIG to pay 100 per cent insurance money to farmers in Barmer district for damages to groundnut crops in 2018 kharif season, even when the company claimed that groundnut was not even sown in the area.

“Because of the political influence, farmers do not cooperate with us,” says the private insurance agent. Even Chaudhary admits that the crop cutting experiment is not in favour of the insurance companies. He suggests the scheme should have the provision of hiring independent agencies that both government and insurance companies have faith in to carry out the crop cutting experiments. 

The economic slump and its impact on the reinsurance market have also marred the scheme. “The commission that insurance companies receive when they reinsure the risk cover has gone down from 10 per cent to just 3 per cent in the past five years. The commission amount itself runs into crores of rupees and this dip has impacted the companies,” says an insurance market expert on anonymity.

Company officials say their risk has also increased because the number of farmers covered under the scheme has not increased over the years. In 2016-17, more than 58 million farmers were covered under the scheme, which dropped to around 56 million in 2018-19. This has pushed the scheme’s premium, which is shared by farmers, the Centre and states. A farmer in 2016-17 paid on an average premium of Rs 725 under the scheme, which increased to Rs 860 in 2018.

Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare

The losing interest of private players can seriously weaken the scheme. For starters, it will increase the risk burden of the government companies. Already, the five government-run companies under the scheme cover over 50 per cent of the disaster-prone areas. This is the reason the overall claim ratio of the government companies in the past three years have been substantially higher (86 per cent) than the private players (77 per cent). The remaining players are also expected to increase the premium amount to compensate for the higher risk. This will make farmers more unsure of the scheme.

Chaudhary believes the only way this logjam can be broken is if the Centre intervenes and increases the number of farmers under the scheme and ensures that it covers the entire country. “Currently, only 25 per cent of districts contribute the bulk of the premium. If the farmer base spreads to new places, companies can earn enough to remain in the scheme,” he says. 

Source: Downtoearth
Link:https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/punctured-cover-india-s-crop-insurance-scheme-loses-sheen-68379

Explained: Maharashtra’s second farm loan waiver in 2½ years — what is different

To help the farm sector, state governments have time and again announced loan waiver schemes. Back in 2008-09, the then UPA government at the Centre had announced a loan waiver scheme for the entire country.

Explained: Maharashtra’s second farm loan waiver in 2½ years — what is different
A march by farmers from Thane to Mumbai in November 2018, demanding an unconditional loan waiver and compensation for drought.

Last week, the new Maharashtra government announced a loan waiver for farmers who had up to Rs 2 lakh in pending loans between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2019. Maharashtra thus became possibly the only state to have offered two consecutive farm loan waivers within two-and-a-half years of each other. The previous loan waiver was announced by the Devendra Fadnavis government in June 2017. A look at why this loan waiver was considered necessary, and how it is different from the earlier one:

The loans, the defaults

At the start of the cropping cycle, banks extend short term credits to farmers to finance their need of capital for purchase of seeds, fertilisers etc. Financial institutions usually provide this loan at 7 per cent interest. Timely repayments allows farmers to get a 3 per cent interest subvention from the central government and a further 2 per cent subvention from the state government, thus effectively reducing the interest rate to just 1 per cent. This is envisioned to help farmers access credit at the right time and keep them away from the clutches of money lenders who lend at exorbitant rates.

However, a spate of extreme weather events, like droughts, floods, hailstorms etc, often results in farmers defaulting on their repayment. As of September 30, 2019 the outstanding crop loan in Maharashtra was Rs 1,08,781.90 crore. Defaulting farmers become ineligible for new capital from the banks and are forced to knock at the door of private money lenders.

To help the farm sector, state governments have time and again announced loan waiver schemes. Back in 2008-09, the then UPA government at the Centre had announced a loan waiver scheme for the entire country. States like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and others have announced similar schemes in the recent past.

The 2017 waiver

Faced with an unprecedented farmers’ strike, the Fadnavis-led government had announced the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana in June 2017. Irrespective of the size of landholding, the scheme waived off outstanding crop loans up to Rs 1.5 lakh per family. Farmers who made regular repayments got Rs 25,000 as incentive for good credit behaviour. The scheme waived off loans pending from April 1, 2012 to March 30, 2016. Later, this was extended to include outstanding loans from 2001. Farmers whose outstanding was more than Rs 1.5 lakh were expected to deposit the additional amount to get the waiver. For example, for an outstanding of Rs 2 lakh, the farmer was to deposit Rs 50,000 in the loan account after which the government agreed to waive off Rs 1.5 lakh.

Government records show about 44 lakh farmers have benefited from the scheme so far, with loans worth Rs 18,600 crore having been waived.

The new scheme

Calling for a complete loan waiver, the Opposition Congress and NCP described the Fadnavis government’s scheme as a cruel joke on farmers. They promised a complete loan waiver in their election manifestos ahead of Assembly polls. Even the Shiv Sena talked about making farmers loan-free.

Last week, the new coalition government announced the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Shetkari Karja Mukti Yojana. State government sources said this scheme would see Rs 26,000 crore of outstanding loans of over 36 lakh accounts being waived off.

The difference

Unlike the previous loan waiver, this latest scheme will see outstanding crop loan up to Rs 2 lakh, pending from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2019, being waived off. Farmers with more than Rs 2 lakh outstanding are not eligible for the scheme. Also, the scheme has no incentive for farmers who are regular in their repayments. Farmers’ activists have criticised these two provisions which they say defeats the purpose of loan waiver.

Thackeray and senior minister Jayant Patil have talked of extending the scheme later to cover farmers with more than Rs 2 lakh outstanding as well as for farmers who are regular with repayments.

A new provision in the present scheme is that families with more than one loan account are eligible for waiver in each one of their accounts. The last waiver was limited to one account per family. Also, this time farmers will not have to file online forms to avail their waivers. It had led to major confusion last time.

Source: Indianexpress
Link:https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-maharashtras-second-farm-loan-waiver-in-2%C2%BD-years-what-is-different-6198630/

PM-Kisan misses half of target due to implementation hurdles

Under PM-KISAN, the government provides income support of Rs 6000 a year to farmers with a valid enrolment, paid in three equal cash transfers of Rs 2000 — one every four months.

A farmer checks his rice crop damaged because of unseasonal rain, on the outskirts of Pune, Maharashtra, on November 16, 2019.
A farmer checks his rice crop damaged because of unseasonal rain, on the outskirts of Pune, Maharashtra, on November 16, 2019.

The Modi government’s cash-for-farmers programme has been able to benefit only half of the 140 million farmers targeted in 2019-20 due to implementation hurdles, according to figures presented in Parliament. The next disbursal, now due, is likely to leave out those who have not been able to link their bank accounts with Aadhaar, the universal 12-digit biometric identity number.

Under PM-KISAN, the government provides income support of Rs 6000 a year to farmers with a valid enrolment, paid in three equal cash transfers of Rs 2000 — one every four months. It was launched on 24 February 2019, when the first instalment was paid.

At the current rate of expansion, the government is unlikely to spend the entire Rs 75,000 crore budgeted for 2019-20. As on October 21, 2019, the government has spent Rs 32,577 crore, or 43% of this.

Aadhaar-based enrolment and cash transfers, slow internet connections in many rural centres, and messy land records have slowed the programme, the farm ministry told a parliamentary panel this month.

Cash transfers under the programme take place every four months: December to March, April to July and August to November. In the first instalment period (December 2018 to March 2019), nearly 70.2 million farmers received a total of Rs 14,055 crore. In the second tranche (April to July 2019), only Rs 59.2 million were paid a total amount of Rs 11,845 crore. The third instalment saw 33.3 million farmers benefiting, with a payout of Rs 6,677 crore.

There’s a reason those numbers look out of place. After all, if 70.2 million farmers received the first instalment, whey did only 59.2 receive a second instalment and only 33.3 million a third? The agriculture ministry counts the first tranche paid to a farmer, even if it was paid for the second period due to late enrolment, as the ‘first instalment paid’. This means even if a farmer enrolled in the second period (April to July 2019) and got his instalment for this period as his first ever cash transfer, he will be counted among those receiving the first instalment (December 2018 to March 2019). This inflates the total number of farmers, as shown above.

In all, of the targeted 140 million farmers, nearly 71 million farmers have so far received the payouts, as the ministry noted before the parliamentary panel. “I would like to make it clear that the total number of farmers who have got the benefit is right now 7,17,42,959,” a ministry official said in the report to Parliament.

That leave another 69 million to be targeted by March.

Based on these, 33.3 million farmers benefited from the scheme between December 2018 and March 2019 (they have received three instalments), with an additional 25.9 million benefited from it between April and July (they have received two), and an additional 11 between August and November (they have received only one).

According to the scheme’s design, farmers registered for the scheme in the first stage would have received all three instalments released so far since the start of the scheme. Farmers who registered during the second period would not have receives the first instalment but would have received the next two, because the benefits are not retrospective.

The agriculture ministry cited in its report to the committee multiple hurdles in the programme, rolled out to squash large-scale protests by farmers in the run-up to the last general election in May 2019. India has continued to remain in the grip of an agrarian crisis caused by low food prices and extreme weather events.

Problems in Aadhaar authentication, or the process of validating the biometric identity with a beneficiary’s bank account, have limited the number of potential payouts, according to the report.

Aadhaar linking was optional for the first tranche that covered the December 2018-March 2019 period. For the second instalment covering the period April-July 2019, Aadhaar authentication was compulsory, except for north-eastern states and the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir.

As teething problems began showing, the government relaxed the requirement of Aadhaar till November 30, 2019. But all farmers need to mandatorily complete their Aadhaar details after this date to get cash transfers. Payouts for the currently due tranche for the December 2019-March 2020 period will be done based on Aadhaar validation. The government has made Aadhaar compulsory for all welfare handouts to plug leakages.

“Demographic authentication of Aadhaar data is slowing down the release process as there are a lot of cases where the names entered in the data base of PM-KISAN do not match with the names as available in their Aadhaar,” the ministry said in the report.

In Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, lack of proper land records “pose a difficulty in identifying the actual beneficiaries”, the ministry said. Eligible farmer families are identified on the basis of operational land holding data according to the agricultural Census Data 2015-16, which is then extrapolated to 2018-19, an official said. It’s the job of state governments to provide accurate beneficiary data and payments are continuously updated.

Payments are made through a centralised financial software, which rejects beneficiaries in case of Aadhaar or land record mismatch. Poor internet connections also hamper uploading of data to the PM-KISAN database, the ministry said. The software validates a payment only when there’s an accurate match of three data points: Aadhaar, land record and bank account.

The ministry added that in states such as Punjab, land has been transferred but records are not available. The country has 140 million operational land holdings, which refers to the number of land parcels owned by total households.

“The government needs to redesign the scheme. Commonly, land records are in the name of head of the family, while the land is cultivated by his sons. So, who should get the money has become a matter of family disputes,” said Yudhvir Singh, the national general secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan Union.

According to Singh, farmers are finding it difficult to correct even small details, such as mismatches in spelling of names. Experts such as Ashok Gulati of the think-tank ICRIER say a sufficient amount of national income support to cover farming costs can help cut down wasteful subsidies.

According to calculations by Gulati, published in an April 2018 paper, a national-level income transfer scheme to all farmers will cost “Rs 1.97 lakh crore under the assumption that all farmers get Rs 10,000/ha irrespective of what crops they are growing and whom they are selling”. This is only slightly more than the Rs 170 lakh crore that the country spends on its food subsidy bill.

Source:Hindustan Times

Link:https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/pm-kisan-misses-half-of-target-due-to-implementation-hurdles/story-oePlUPAUgqZJ1BHN6EBUMK.html

Gujarat wages war against locusts

About 6,000 hectares affected before State ‘pushes’ the locusts out

Farmers in Gujarat can heave a sigh of relief after the State administration successfully eliminated a large chunk of locusts and forced the remaining lot to leave Gujarat borders from the North.

“Since last night, we have not found locusts at any place in Banaskantha or other affected parts of Gujarat. We believe that they are now going back to parts of Rajasthan and Jalore, from where they are believed to have entered Gujarat,” Sandip Sagale, District Collector, Banaskantha told Businessline.

Launched earlier last week, the combat operation was not less than any military action, as described by the government officials.

Anti-locust operation

On war-footing, the government first assessed, then surveyed, planned and executed a coordinated attack on what the farmers termed – “infiltrators” on their fields. But before they were eliminated, the locusts had affected over 6,000 hectares of land in North Gujarat mainly in Banaskantha district.

“So far, we have surveyed 10,000 hectares of the area, of which we found locusts on 7,000 hectares. The insects were destroyed in over 5,000 hectares by spraying pesticides of around 4,900 litres,” said Punamchand Parmar, Additional Chief Secretary, State Agriculture Department.

Sagale, who was in charge of the anti-locust operation, stated that response to the attack was collective with Central and State teams including the top officials Chief Secretary, Agriculture secretary to the ground representatives including gram sevak and panchayats were involved for the operation, which lasted for less than a week.

The countryside of Banaskantha district wore a ‘war-zone’ look with convoys of tractors mounted with spraying machines accompanied by fire vehicles, R&B earth movers and government jeeps plying on the narrow highways.

Since the locust attack of this scale wasn’t seen at least in past two decades, the response had to be equally intense for making it effective. This necessitated a large-scale combat operation, which the government claims to have accomplished within a week’s time.

While senior officials were strategising a strong combat, the ground-staff used their handheld weapon – a WhatsApp Group to keep them informed. “We had formed a WhatsApp Group, which came very handy to our staff on the ground who kept us updated about the movement and presence of the locusts so that we could strategise and mobilise our action accordingly. This worked wonders as we could get live location of the locusts,” said the collector.

The insect attack posed several challenges, though including timely spotting of the locusts, reaching out to far-flung areas in difficult terrain and sensitising villagers and residents about the hazards of the chemicals.

The Road and Building (R&B) Department was pressed into action for road clearance, the fire department provided extended reach for spraying at the height, water supply and irrigation department came with their equipment, agriculture department coordinated with farmers to source tractor vehicles. There were total 18 operational Central teams, who had expertise in using the hazardous – highly toxic chemical – 96% malathion, the State teams used Chlorpyrifos (CPS) 20% and 50% for sprayers.

Since, the spraying was possible only in mornings because in the nights the spiracles of the insects remain closed leaving sprays ineffective.

The large swarm of locust – spanning over about 15 kilometres in size – had invaded fields in Banaskantha on December 14. “We already had several smaller swarms of locusts in other parts but we decided to concentrate our attack on the bigger swarm and eliminate it first. And we succeeded in this strategy,” said Sagale.

However, the State administration still stands guard for the next five days till the threat is completely eliminated. “We should be sure that they will not return with the wind from Rajasthan. So, we are still on alert for five more days,” he added.

Source: .Thehindubusinessline
Link:https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/gujarat-wages-war-against-locusts/article30434454.ece

Khattar launches Atal Canteen in Karnal; labourers, farmers to get food for Rs 10

The canteens are named after former PM late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but the government failed to launch it on his birthday on December 25

Karnal Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar inaugurated the state’s first Atal Kisan-Mazdoor canteens at the Karnal grain market on Sunday. At this canteen, farmers and labourers coming to the mandi will get a Veg-thali comprising four chapatis, rice, dal and seasonal vegetable, all for Rs 10. The canteen will function from 11am-3pm everyday and for now, it has the capacity to serve 300 persons. Ten women from a self-help group (SHG) have been appointed to prepare the food.

The canteens are named after former PM late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but the government failed to launch it on his birthday on December 25.

“This was a long-pending demand of farmers and labourers. We will open such canteens in all grain and vegetable markets of the state,” Khattar said, adding that he had asked officials of the Haryana Cooperative Department to explore the possibility of setting up such canteens in cooperative sugar mills as well. After the launch, the CM, along with Haryana agriculture minister JP Dalal, local MP Sanjay Bhatia and senior officials also had lunch in the canteen.

Agriculture and farmers welfare department additional chief secretary Sanjeev Kaushal said, “This is the first canteen in the state. We will set up 25 such canteens next year and four such facilities will be made operational in January.”

He added that the Haryana State Agriculture Marketing Board (HSAMB) has set up this canteen in collaboration with the state rural livelihood mission. “The actual cost of a thali-served in this canteen comes out to Rs 25; the HSAMB will pitch in with the remaining Rs 15.”

“This canteen will prove a big support for farmers, and especially poor labourers who work day and night at the mandi. Now, I need not travel to home for lunch as I can get it in Rs 10 inside the mandi,” said a woman labourer Nara Devi. After the CM left, enthusiastic labourers and farmers thronged the canteen. For some time, canteen staff had to face problems in controlling the crowd, as they did not have space and food for all.

Vajpayee’s statue unveiled

Karnal Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar unveiled a 14-foot statue of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the Atal Park on Sunday. The statue has cost Rs 56 lakh. The CM paid his tributes to Vajpayee and said till today, the country was following in the great leader’s footsteps.In Karnal, his own constituency, Khattar also inaugurated and laid the foundation stones of developmental projects worth Rs 14.8 crore. He also flagged off a “Save Earth- Bicycle Rally from Sector 12. Later, he held a meeting with party workers in Karnal and heard the grievances of the people of his constituency.

Source: Hindustantimes
Link:https://www.hindustantimes.com/chandigarh/khattar-launches-atal-canteen-in-karnal-labourers-farmers-to-get-food-for-rs-10/story-MBLC0iwaEcpWYzpYb85sOJ.html

Breaking News Latest Updates Highlights of December 23

Breaking News Latest Updates Highlights of December 23

New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: At Jagran English, we ensure you receive all the latest news across all beats taking place in India or across the globe. Here we provide you a brief coverage across all genres, including politics, business, India, world, sports and entertainment.

Today, we will have a key focus on the Jharkhand Assembly results and the ongoing protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act that has spread across the country.

Here are the Highlights: 

6:25 pm: #Kashmir Zone Police | Shopian Police has arrested 3 terrorist associates Idris, Mudasir & Shahid. Incriminating materials recovered. As per police records they were assisting active terrorists of proscribed terror outfit JeM in Shopian & Kulgam. Case registered.

6:20 pm: Union Home Minister & BJP leader Amit Shah tweets, “We respect the mandate given by the people of #Jharkhand. We express our gratitude towards them for giving us the opportunity to serve them for 5 years. BJP is committed towards continuous development in the state”.

6:15 pm: Uttarakhand | Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi promoted as chief conservator of forest.

6:10 pm: Telangana veterinarian’s rape & murder case | Bodies of 4 accused (killed in Telangana encounter) have been handed over to their families, after post-mortem by AIIMS team today following the directions of Telangana High Court. The report is to be submitted before the High Court.

6:05 pm: Karnataka | Former Chief Minister & Congress leader Siddaramaiah at a hospital in Mangaluru to meet those who got injured during #CitizenshipAmendmentAct protest.

6:00 pm: Indian cricket team’s chief selector, MSK Prasad: Indian cricket need not worry for the next 6-7 years, as we have substantial bench strength across all forms.

5:55 pm: Indian cricket team’s chief selector, MSK Prasad: For T20 series vs Sri Lanka, Jasprit Bumrah and Shikhar Dhawan have been brought back; Rohit Sharma and Mohammed Shami rested.

5:50 pm: Custom officials at Chennai International airport have seized 5 kg gold worth Rs 1.91 crores; one person arrested

5:45 pm: Indian Air Force | Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria is on a bilateral goodwill visit to Egypt from 24 to 28 Dec. CAS is scheduled to visit various operational & training establishments of Egyptian Air Force&interact with senior officials of Egyptian Armed Forces.

5:40 pm: Haryana Police has arrested Prem Kumar, a wanted criminal carrying a reward of Rs 50,000 on his head from Bhiwani district. Further investigation underway.

5:35 pm: DGCA | All passengers (132) and crew (07) de-boarded safely back to the terminal and Airports Authority of India followed all safety measures. The aircraft is grounded and decision is with the concerned airline to fly subject to airworthiness.

5:30 pm: Directorate General of Civil Aviation | At around 11.17 hrs today, GoAir flight GOW 546, which took off from Guwahati Airport to Kolkata, pilot requested for return to Guwahati due to minor technical problem&taking safest decision,pilot landed back at 11.29 hrs at Guwahati Airport

5:25 pm: Haryana Police has arrested Prem Kumar, a wanted criminal carrying a reward of Rs 50,000 on his head from Bhiwani district. Further investigation underway.

5:20 pm: Roman Babushkin, Russian Deputy Chief of Mission on #CitizenshipAmendmentAct: This is a domestic policy of India. Russia doesn’t have to comment on it. If there are issues, then it should be resolved through dialogue.

5:15 pm: Ministry of Finance | During the meeting, discussions were held on challenges faced in providing quality of water, sanitation, solid waste management and drainage in India. Experts also talked about removing disparities in accessing sanitation and quality of water.

5:10 pm: Hemant Soren, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) in Ranchi | Today a new chapter will begin for this state. I want to assure everyone that their hopes will not be broken irrespective of their caste, creed, religion and profession. #JharkhandElectionResults

5:07 pm: BJP Working President JP Nadda in Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee did not even once condemn the violence during protests (over #CitizenshipAmendmentAct). Does a CM make an appeal or take action? A CM has the power to take action.

5:05 pm: NCP Chief Sharad Pawar | The result of #JharkhandAssemblyPolls that has come today clearly states that people are with non-BJP parties. After Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, people have decided to keep BJP away from power in Jharkhand also.

5:01 pm: BJP Working President JP Nadda in Kolkata | They (Congress) are not worried about the country but their vote bank.

5:00 pm: BJP Working Pres | Manmohan Singh Ji had said to LK Advani ji “after Partition minorities in countries like Bangladesh faced persecution..it’s our moral obligation that if our circumstances force ppl shud seek refugee in our country,our approach to grant citizenship shd be there”.

4:52 pm: BJP Working President JP Nadda in Kolkata, West Bengal | Today, we have seen that Bengal stands with Modi ji and it welcomes the Citizenship Amendment Act. The people of Bengal are ‘desh-bhakts’.

4:50 pm: Delhi | Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan Singh read the Preamble of the Constitution, at Raj Ghat where the party is staging protest against #CitizenshipAmendmentAct.

4:45 pm: Nikolai Kudashev, Russian Ambassador to India | We are hopeful of completing the free trade agreement between the Eurasian region & India in the year 2020. We will also make progress in defence cooperation with greater possibilities of joint cooperation & localisation.

4:40 pm: Maharashtra | Three labourers lost their lives while cleaning a septic tank in Govandi (East) area of Mumbai, earlier today.

4:35 pm: Delhi | Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi reads the Preamble of the Constitution, at Raj Ghat where the party is staging protest against #CitizenshipAmendmentAct.

4:30 pm: Delhi | Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi arrives at Raj Ghat where the party is staging protest against #CitizenshipAmendmentAct.

4:25 pm: Nikolai Kudashev, Russian Ambassador to India: India & Russia are starting a new level of energy security partnership with lucrative opportunity for Indian companies in Russian arctic. Hoping for early conclusion of Eurasian-India next year.

4:20 pm: Minister of External Affairs (EAM) S Jaishankar: Thank President of Iran, Dr. Hassan Rouhani for so graciously receiving me today. Apprised him of the outcomes of the Joint Commission and progress in our bilateral ties.

4:15 pm: Nikolai Kudashev, Russian Ambassador to India | Prime Minister Narendra Modi & Russian President Vladimir Putin expected to meet several times in the year 2020.

4:10 pm: Cricket South Africa | Vernon Philander has called time on an exemplary international career with the announcement of his retirement from all forms of international cricket at the end of the Test series against England in January 2020.

4:05 pm: Delhi | Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan Singh arrive at Raj Ghat where the party is protesting against #CitizenshipAmendmentAct.

4:00 pm: BJP Working President JP Nadda at a rally in Kolkata: Huge crowd here shows ppl are in support of #CitizenshipAct. West Bengal CM is just doing vote-bank politics by opposing the Act. She should see huge support for Act&understand that ppl have rejected vote-bank politics.

3:55 pm: Delhi | Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kamal Nath, Ahmed Patel and Anand Sharma at Raj Ghat to protest against #CitizenshipAmendmentAct and National Register of Citizens.

3:50 pm: Delhi | Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held 9th Pre-Budget consultations with representatives of ‘Water & Sanitation’ sector today, in connection with the Union Budget 2020-21.

3:45 pm: India successfully test-fired Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile off the coast of Odisha today. The weapon system is expected to be ready for induction by 2021 | DRDO

3:40 pm: Bengaluru | Shops in and around Shivajinagar and Frazer Town are closed following bandh call for protest against Citizenship Amendment Act.

3:36 pm: Karnataka | Large number of anti- #CitizenshipAmendmentAct protesters in Bengaluru

3:32 pm: Delhi court dismisses bail plea filed by 15 accused in Daryaganj violence case. Metropolitan magistrate Kapil Kumar Sent all 15 accused to 14 days judicial custody.

3:30 pm: Delhi High Court asks Chief Forest Conservator of Delhi to clarify whether any encroached forest area has been included in the Centre’s decision to regularise 1731 unauthorized colonies in the national capital.

3:25 pm: The missile successfully engaged the aerial target establishing its capability. Director General (MSS) MSR Prasad was present during the trial. With this mission, developmental trials of the weapon system are completed &weapon system is expected to be ready for induction by 2021.

3:20 pm: Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile System developed by DRDO successfully flight tested today at 1145hrs from Integrated Test Range,Chandipur.The missile was flight tested with full configuration in deployment mode intercepting the target in mid air, meeting mission objectives.

3:05 pm: Karnataka | Several organisations hold anti- Citizenship Act protest in Bengaluru.

3:00 pm: Kolkata | West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar gets out of his car. He was not able to get out of his car earlier as students protested against his arrival at Jadavpur University.

2:55 pm: Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor says Saudi court sentences five to death in Jamal Khashoggi (file pic) case; another three people get jail terms totaling 24 years.

2:50 pm: Ministry of External Affairs on Afghan Presidential elections | India remains committed to work with the people and Government of Afghanistan in its fight against terrorism and in its pursuit of socio-economic development.

2:45 pm: MEA | We hope that the Afghan leaders and other stakeholders will work together to further strengthen the democratic polity and to fight the serious challenges of terrorism facing the country.

2:43 pm: Ministry of External Affairs on Afghan Presidential elections | We welcome announcement of the preliminary results of the Presidential election of Afghanistan held on 28Sept &commend leaders and institutions for their hard work to preserve&strengthen democracy in the country.

2:41 pm: A Delhi court dismisses bail plea of 15 accused detained in Daryaganj violence case.

2:40 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Working President JP Nadda and party General Secretary in-charge of West Bengal, Kailash Vijayvargiya lead rally in Kolkata in support of #CitizenshipAmmendmentAct

2:39 pm: IMD | Due to favourable meteorological conditions, dense to very dense fog in the morning hours and cold day to severe cold day conditions at many places very likely over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi during next 2 days and at isolated to few places for subsequent 3 days. Dense to very dense fog in the morning hours and Cold day conditions at isolated pockets also very likely over Uttar Pradesh during next 5 days.

Dense to very dense fog in the morning hrs likely during next 5 days and cold wave conditions during 24th to 27th over north Rajasthan. Dense to very dense fog likely over Bihar, Sub-Himalayan West Bengal & Sikkim, Assam & Meghalaya, Manipur, & Tripura during next 2 days.

2:30 pm: West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar shown black flags and posters of ‘BJP activist Jagdeep Dhankar Go back’ by students on his arrival at Jadavpur University for the convocation ceremony.

2:15 pm: West Bengal | Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Working President JP Nadda and party General Secretary in-charge of West Bengal, Kailash Vijayvargiya hold rally in Kolkata in support of CAA.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Working President JP Nadda and party General Secretary in-charge of West Bengal, Kailash Vijayvargiya lead rally in Kolkata in support of #CitizenshipAmmendmentAct

2:10 pm: Jammu and Kashmir | Passing out parade of the second batch of J&K police constables at Police Technical Training Institute Vijaypur; Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh present.

2:05 pm: Calcutta High Court directs West Bengal government to stop all government advertisements that say National Register of Citizens (NRC) and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) will not be implemented in the State. Next date of hearing is on January 9, 2020.

2:00 pm: Director General of Police (DGP) Jammu & Kashmir Dilbag Singh | A JeM terrorist was arrested from Tral and a LeT terrorist module was busted, yesterday.

1:55 pm: Director General of Police (DGP) Jammu & Kashmir Dilbag Singh | There are attempts by Pakistan to infiltrate along the Line of Control. Our border guarding forces are retaliating effectively. The situation is completely under control.

1:45 pm: BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur | I demand that this matter be investigated and action be taken against those responsible for it.

1:30 pm: BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur, on a video showing passengers on a SpiceJet flight confronting her: I was travelling on a SpiceJet flight. I have problem in my spinal cord & was allotted seat 1A which has leg space. I even paid extra for it. I was brought there on a wheelchair. 

Airhostess told me to not sit there, 2 more people told me that saying it’s an emergency seat. But nowhere was it mentioned that it is an emergency seat. I told them if it is a rule, then I be provided the rule book. They didn’t have a rule book.Some passengers came & asked why is the flight being delayed. People thought I am showing off my VIP status but I was travelling as a normal passenger. I travelled in pain at the back, and later complained to Bhopal Airport Director. (3/3)

1:25 pm: Delhi | A Delhi court reserves for 3.30 pm today verdict on bail plea of 15 accused detained in Daryaganj violence case.

1:22 pm: These 163 people have been served notices by Pune Rural Police, prohibiting them from entering the district. #Maharashtra

1:18 pm: Bhima Koregaon violence case: Pune Rural Police has issued notices to 163 people, including accused Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, ahead of 202nd anniversary of Koregaon Bhima battle on January 1 and second anniversary of Bhima Koregaon violence. #Maharashtra

1:18 pm: Maj Anoop Mishra has been awarded Army Design Bureau Excellence Award by the Army Chief for indigenously developing Sarvatra bullet proof jacket that can provide protection from sniper rifle bullets.The project was undertaken after a no. of sniper incidents on LoC&Kashmir valley.

1:05 pm: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat in Delhi | Non-contact warfare will help us in gaining advantage over the adversary in future wars. Quantum technologies, cyber space, and artificial intelligence need to be leveraged into the defence ecosystem.

1:00 pm: Kolkata | Now, the route for Bharatiya Janata Party rally is from Hind Cinema-CR Avenue-to culminate at Shyambazar, where BJP Working President JP Nadda will address a public gathering.

12:45 pm: Panjagutta Police, Hyderabad | A woman with pain in her back since last 2 years underwent surgery at NIMS hospital, yesterday, where doctors removed a bullet from her body. A case has been registered and matter will be investigated further. #Telangana

12:35 pm: West Bengal | BJP Working President JP Nadda arrives at Kolkata airport; He will lead a march today supporting the Citizenship Act. He will address a gathering at Dharmatala Rani Rashmoni Road from where the march will begin and culminate at Swami Vivekananda’s residence.

12:31 pm: December 8 Delhi fire incident at Anaj Mandi | Chief Metropolitan Magistrate court sends factory owner Rehan, manager Furkan and co-owner Mohd Sohail to judicial custody till 4th January*, 2020. 43 people lost their lives after fire broke out at a factory on December 8.

12:30 pm: West Bengal | BJP Working President JP Nadda arrives at Kolkata airport; He will lead a march today supporting the Citizenship Act. He will address a gathering at Dharmatala Rani Rashmoni Road from where the march will begin and culminate at Swami Vivekananda’s residence.

12:30 pm: Bihar | A march in the favour of #CitizenshipAmendmentAct was taken out in Patna today, under the aegis of ‘Bharat Bachao Morcha’. Members of BJP-RSS and others participated in the march.

12:20 pm: Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain | A compensation of Rs 10 lakhs each will be given to deceased and Rs 1 lakh each to those injured. Injured will be treated on government expenses. SDM inquiry into reason behind the incident to be conducted within 7 days.

12:15 pm: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa orders for a CID inquiry into the incident where two people died in Mangaluru, in the violence which occurred during protest against #CitizenshipAmendmentAct, on December 19.

12:13 pm: December 8 Delhi fire incident at Anaj Mandi | Chief Metropolitan Magistrate court sends factory owner Rehan, manager Furkan and co-owner Mohd Sohail to judicial custody till 14th January, 2020. 43 people lost their lives after fire broke out at a factory on December 8.

12:08 pm: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa orders for a CID inquiry into the incident where two people died in Mangaluru, in the violence which occurred during protest against #CitizenshipAmendmentAct, on December 19.

12:03 pm: Tamil Nadu | DMK and its alliance parties hold a ‘mega rally’ against #CitizenshipAmendmentAct, in Chennai. Congress leader P Chidambaram and MDMK’s Vaiko are also participating.

11:53 pm: Shivraj Singh Chouhan, BJP in Jaipur on being asked if BJP trails in #JhakhandAssemblyPolls, will it be a litmus test for #CAA: No such question arises. State elections are fought on issues concerning the state.

11:34 pm: Kerala Minister EP Jayarajan, on #CitizenshipAmendmentAct: A joint strike is inevitable. We need to unite against the great calamity that the country faces. The country is facing protests over the passage of Parliament’s muscle power.

11:33 pm: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, on the growth of Indian defence industry: We will win future wars with Indian systems

11:09 pm: Shivraj Singh Chouhan, BJP in Jaipur on #CitizenshipAmendmentAct | Narendra Modi inke liye bhagwan ban ke aaye hain jo pratadit the aur nark ki zindagi jee rahe the. Bhagwan ne jeewan diya, maa ne janam diya, lekin Narendra Modi ji ne fir se zindagi di hai.

11:02 pm: One of India’s neighbours deliberately wants to create more trouble in the country, especially in Jammu and Kashmir, says Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu without mentioning Pakistan.

10:59 pm: Karnataka | Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Parshottam Rupala and CM, BS Yediyurappa met and held discussions in Bengaluru today.

10:45 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi urges students, youths to join him at Rajghat to protest against “hate and violence unleashed on India by Modi-Shah”

10:25 pm: Tamil Nadu | DMK and its alliance parties hold a ‘mega rally’ against #CitizenshipAmendmentAct, in Chennai. Congress leader P Chidambaram and MDMK’s Vaiko are also participating.

9:45 pm: Rupee slips 5 paise to 71.17 against US dollar in early trade

9:35 am: Official Election Commission trends | BJP leading on 8 seats, Congress on 6, RJD on 3, JMM on 4 and AJSU on 1 seat.

9:32 am: Official Election Commission trends | BJP leading on 5 seats, Congress on 4, RJD on 3, JMM on 2 and AJSU on 1 seat. #JharkhandAssemblyPolls

9:39 am: Madhya Pradesh | An FIR was registered against BJP MP from Guna, Krishnapal Yadav and his son, today, for allegedly submitting forged documents to get caste certificate in non-creamy layer.

9:37 am: Official Election Commission trends | BJP leading on 3 seats, Congress, JMM, RJD on two each and AJSU on 1 seat. #JharkhandAssemblyPolls

9:25 am: Sensex at 41,696.92, up by 15.38 points. Nifty at 12,275.50, up by 3.70 points.

9:11 am: Official Election Commission trends | All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) leading on 1 seat. Party’s candidate Lambodar Mahto leading from Gomia seat. #JharkhandAssemblyPolls

9:01 am: Tamil Nadu | Security tightened in Chennai as DMK and its alliance parties are set to hold a ‘mega rally’ against #CitizenshipAmendmentAct, today in the city.

Source: Jagran
Link:https://english.jagran.com/india/breaking-news-latest-updates-december-23-top-news-india-world-sports-entertainment-business-jharkhand-election-result-citizenship-act-10007258

December wheat stocks hit 7-year high on poor offtake; may pose storage challenge

Wheat stocks in the central pool at the beginning of December stood at 351 lakh tonnes, a seven-year high, on muted demand for the grain sold by the Food Corporation of India due to its high price.

These stocks could add to the storage worries of the government in the days ahead as farmers are seen planting more wheat in the current rabi season, raising the prospects for a bumper harvest.

Anticipating a huge crop, large traders and stockists, including some corporates, have been offloading their stocks in the recent past, sources said. Millers prefer to buy wheat from the open market as the cereal offered by FCI under the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) is priced higher.

The government had set a base price of ₹2,080 per quintal for the current fiscal under the OMSS and has been raising it by ₹55 every quarter to cover costs. The minimum support price (MSP) for wheat during the 2018-19 season was ₹1,840 per quintal.

Sanjay Puri, President, Roller Flour Millers Federation of India, said the government, in a bid to make the FCI wheat more attractive, should fix a realistic price for the cereal.

“The FCI price for the OMSS wheat should be linked to the NCDEX price. Such a move would help the government attract buyers and trim stocks,” Puri said.

 

High taxes

Further, Puri said the high taxes charged by Punjab and Haryana are keeping buyers away from markets in these States. The MSP should be inclusive of taxes to attract private buyers, Puri said.

Meanwhile, wheat acreages were up by about 10 per cent till December 12. “Farmers in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat are seen shifting from chana (gram) to wheat on account of high soil moisture and water availability resulting in higher acreages,” said GP Singh, Director, Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research.

He expects wheat acreage to go up by at least 1-1.5 million hectares this year over the normal area of 31 million ha and the increase to result in a bumper harvest. “The wheat crop would be in excess of 105 million tonnes this year depending on the weather conditions in February and March,” Singh said.

The MSP for wheat during the ongoing 2019-20 season has been fixed higher at ₹1,925 per quintal. Wheat output stood at 102.19 million tonnes in 2018-19, according to the fourth advance estimates issued by the Agriculture Ministry.

Source: Thehindubusinessline
Link:https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/december-wheat-stocks-hit-7-year-high-on-poor-offtake-may-pose-storage-challenge/article30341516.ece

PAU: Progressive farmers, time to apply for awards

The progressive farmers of Punjab will be honoured during the PAU Kisan Mela in March 2020 for their excellenc…Read MoreThe directorate of extension education of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana has invited applications from the farmers of the state for the ‘Innovative Farmer Awards 2020’. The progressive farmers of Punjab will be honoured during the PAU Kisan Mela in March 2020 for their excellence in agriculture, horticulture and allied occupations.
PAU director of extension education J S Mahal said the Chief Minister Award in Agriculture, carrying a cash prize of Rs 25,000 along with a plaque and citation will be conferred on the self-cultivating farmer of field crops in Punjab. The Chief Minister Award in Horticulture, carrying cash prize of Rs 25,000 along with a plaque and citation, will be awarded to the self-cultivating farmer of horticultural crops, he added. Mahal informed that three ‘CRI Pumps Awards,’ each carrying a cash prize of Rs 10,000 along with a plaque and citation, will be presented to the self-cultivating farmer for adopting improved water management technologies, farm mechanisation and organic farming, respectively.

He said Sardarni Parkash Kaur Sra Memorial Award, carrying cash prize of Rs 5,000 along with a plaque and citation, would be given to the self-cultivating progressive farmer/ farm woman in agriculture/horticulture/floriculture and allied agriculture enterprises. Mahal said the application forms are available with the associate/deputy directors (training) of Krishi Vigyan Kendras, directors of regional stations, district extension specialists (senior most), chief agriculture officers, deputy directors of horticulture in different districts of the state and directorate of extension education, PAU. The last date for the receipt of applications in the office of PAU director of extension education is January 10, 2020, he said. For each award, a separate application will be accepted, he added.

Uttar Pradesh govt aims to support 75 MW farmland solar plants in 2019-20

Under KUSUM scheme, the state government will help farmers in setting up an aggregate 75 MW capacity of grid-connected solar plants—in capacities of up to 2 MW—on their barren or cultivable land.

The state of Uttar Pradesh has so far distributed 25,511 solar pumps for irrigation.

Under  Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthan Mahaabhiyan (KUSUM) rural solar scheme, farmers and agricultural collectives can set up decentralized, ground mounted, grid-connected solar power plants of up to 2 MW capacity on barren or cultivable land. The power generated will be purchased by the DISCOMs at feed-in tariffs determined by the respective State Electricity Regulatory Commission, thus opening a stable and continuous source of income to the rural landowners.

“[Under the scheme] the state government of Uttar Pradesh will help in setting up such solar plants with a total capacity of 75 MW in the current year. The government will buy this electricity at a reasonable rate, thus directly benefiting the farmers,” said UP power minister Shrikant Sharma.

Further, the state government will support solarization of existing private tubewells.

“Subsidy will be provided to farmers for conversion of existing private tubewells into grid connected solar pumpsets, eliminating the farmer’s dependence on electricity for irrigation, said the minister.

“Farmers usually irrigate for 150-185 days. Other days the panel-generated power will go to the grid”—he added.

The state, which has set a target of 10,700 MW solar power generation by the year 2022, has so far distributed 25,511 solar pumps for irrigation. Further, a total of 2727 solar-powered RO plants for clean water in schools, and 2,70,000 solar streetlights have been installed in the state, according to the minister.

KUSUM Scheme

Through the KUSUM scheme, the Indian government aims to add renewable capacity of 25.75 GW by 2022 by promoting the installation of 10 GW worth of decentralized, ground mounted, grid-connected renewable power plants as well as the deployment of 17.5 lakh standalone solar-powered agriculture pumps (with a capacity of up to 7.5 hp each). The plan also includes solarization of 10 lakh of grid-connected pumps of the same size. A PV capacity of up to twice the pump capacity in kilowatts is allowed under the scheme.

source: PV-magazine
Link:https://www.pv-magazine-india.com/2019/12/16/up-govt-aims-to-support-75-mw-farmland-solar-plants-in-2019-20/