August 21 , 2009 New Delhi
Agriculture Ministers and Horticulture Ministers met in a conference on 21st August, 2009 at New Delhi under the chairmanship of the Union Agriculture Minister to discuss the situation arising out due to deficit South West Monsoon 2009 and deliberated upon possible mitigation measures. The Conference,
NOTED the various measures adopted by the Central Government and State Government in the wake of the situation that, as on 18th August, 2009 rainfall in the country as a whole was deficient by 27% resulting in substantial loss of sown area in Kharif 2009 and 246 districts in the country being drought affected.
Recognized that, in this scenario, the call of the hour is for every Government agency to focus its attention on the measures that can be adopted for drought mitigation; maximizing production from the standing Kharif crops; and prepare for additional production and higher productivity in Rabi 2009;
Acknowledged that as a result of loss of production during Kharif 2009 and drought in a large number of districts, it is essential that both the Central Government and the State Government immediately put in place Action Plans to ameliorate the adverse impact on farmers' income and livelihood and ensure relief measure such as provision for drinking water, food & fodder for animals, employment generation and gratuitous relief for the needy in distressed areas;
Desired immediate action on all fronts; and therefore, It was agreed that actions as under will be taken:
A. Action to be taken by the Central Government;
- Formulate a scheme for large scale sinking of shallow tubewells, involving NABARD loans and an element of subsidy for the farmers in drought affected districts amenable to exploitation of ground water.
- Keeping in view that the primary requirements faced by farmers in late Kharif, Pre-Rabi and Rabi 2009 would be that of seeds, National Seeds Corporation and State Farms Corporation of India would endeavour to ensure that seeds for the requisite crops are available to the State Governments. In case, it is so required, the relaxation allowed by the Central Government for inclusion of Truthfully Labelled (TL) seeds under RKVY would be extended till Rabi 2009.
- NABARD would be advised to commence a drive on providing loans specifically meant for the shallow tubewells programme, and short-term credit.
- KVKs and other ICAR institutions in the States would assist the State Governments in preparing advisories for the farmers, in the matter of varieties, alternative crops, pest surveillance and pesticide use, nutrient requirement etc.-
- Services of Doordarshan and All India Radio would be utilized both by the Ministry of Agriculture and the State Governments to launch an extensive awareness campaign amongst the farmers.
- Wherever feasible, depending upon availability of surplus power, Central Government would provide additional power from the Central Pool to the States for irrigation purposes.
- Ensure availability of fertilizers in accordance with the requirements of the States determined during the Zonal Conference jointly by DAC, DoF and the State Governments.
- The process of visit of Central Teams to those States which sent their Memorandum for assistance under the National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF) and clearance of the proposals of the Central Teams by the High Level Committee would be expedited.
B. Action to be taken by the State Governments:
- The Crop Plan formulated would be put into operation for early Rabi, Rabi 2009 & Summer Crops.
- A 'Seed Requirement, Availability and Supply Plan' will be worked out on a realistic basis based on the Contingency Crop Plan and tie up with National and State seed agencies ensured to fulfill the requirement of seeds. In case of crops/ varieties in which certified seeds are not available in the country, the option of TL seeds would be explored. However, the States would take extra precaution to ensure quality standards of TL seeds. A similar Seed Plan would be framed for Kharif 2010.
- Organize a drive against spurious seeds and pesticide manufacturers and distributors and take stringent action against defaulters.
- Organize a 100% seed treatment campaign for balance Kharif period and Rabi 2009 to enhance productivity.
- Ensure that the funds available through Central assistance in schemes such as RKVY, NFSM, NHM, ISOPOM, Micro Irrigation be fully utilized in the year 2009-10. Moreover, the State should ensure that, this year, funds under these schemes flow primarily for production and productivity increases, restoring of water bodies, soil moisture conservation, micro irrigation and expenditure on medium term and long term schemes/ projects and those involving infrastructure would be put on hold.
- Take advance action in consultation with the fertilizer companies about movement of fertilizers to the districts based on the allocations by the Department of Fertilizer. The States should also ensure that production units of SSP, physical mixtures and granulated mixtures are operational and achieve optimal capacity utilization. Those States which do not have a State agency for channelizing fertilizers should immediately identify such an agency to ensure adequate buffer stocks of fertilizers.
- Fully utilize the funds available from the Department of Drinking Water Supply for addition of new drinking water sources and repair of existing ones.
- Launch an intensive drive in collaboration with NABARD, to issue additional Kisan Credit Cards, and review existing cards, arrange for agriculture loans for shallow tubewells, short-term credit etc. For this purpose meetings of the State Level Committee would be organized by the first week of September 2009.
- Those States, which have declared drought, would undertake a realistic assessment of the distress caused and expedite submission of Memorandum for assistance under the NCCF.
- Immediately make functional a Control Room at the State Headquarters to monitor the situation on a regular basis and submit situation reports to the Control Room in the Ministry of Agriculture. The situation report, inter-alia, should contain details of Area Sown, state of the crops, availability of seeds, availability of fertilizers, position of drinking water, fodder, reservoir situation etc.