CCEA okays funding co-ops to fight stubble-burning

Acting on the advice of a PMO Panel which recommended seeking help of co-ops in tackling stubble burning, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister gave its approval for promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for in-situ management in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi on Wednesday.

The CCEA earmarked a fund of Rs. 591.65 crore for 2018-19 and Rs 560.15 crore for 2019-20 for establishing Farm Machinery Banks for Custom Hiring of in -situ crop residue management machinery.

Financial assistance @80% of the project cost will be provided to the cooperative societies of the farmers, FPOs, Self Help Groups, Registered Farmers Societies/ Farmers Group, Private Entrepreneurs, Group of Women Farmers.

There is also provision of financial assistance to the farmers for Procurement of Agriculture Machinery and Equipment for in-situ crop residue management. Financial assistance @50% of the machinery/ equipment will be provided to individual farmer for crop residue management.

The CCEA also decided to give financial assistance to the State Government,  KVKs, ICAR Institutes, Central Government Institutes, PSUs, etc. for the activities to be undertaken towards information, education and communication.

The activities will involve mass awareness campaigns through short and long films, documents, radio and TV programmes, demonstration camps at various levels, capacity building programme, advertisement in print media, star campaigning, award for Village/ Gram Panchayat for achieving Zero Straw Burning, panel discussions on Doordarshan, DD Kisan and other private channels, etc.

Respective State Governments through District Level Executive Committee (DLEC) will identify various beneficiaries and location – specific agricultural equipment depending on the farming system and will identify and select beneficiaries for establishment of Farm Machinery Bank for Custom Hiring and procurement of machines on individual ownership basis to avail the benefit in transparent and time bound manner.

At the Central level the scheme will be administered by Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare. A National Steering Committee headed by Secretary, DAC&FW will formulate the policy and give overall directions and guidance to the implementation of the scheme by the State Government and will monitor and review its progress and performance.

Interestingly, Punjab Government had also earlier announced launching of  a ”mobile application” to facilitate the farmers’ for custom hiring of costly agricultural implements required for post harvesting and preparation of fields for sowing next crops.