Union Cabinet may soon approve relief package for farmers


The Union Cabinet is expected to soon approve a relief package for farmers grappling with falling prices of their crops and to tackle distress in the farm sector, according to sources.

The likely relief package is seen as an attempt to assuage the farming community’s discontent ahead of the general elections.

“...The Agriculture Ministry’s proposal on addressing income deficit syndrome of small and marginal farmers is on the agenda (at the Cabinet meeting),” a source said.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet meeting, which was scheduled for January 28, has been deferred, as per sources. The Agriculture Ministry has recommended several options to provide both short and long-term solutions to address agrarian distress. However, a final call will be taken in the Cabinet meeting as a huge cost is involved, they said.

One of the options proposed is waiving interest on crop loans for farmers who pay on time, costing an additional ?15,000 crore to the exchequer.

There is also a proposal to completely waive premium for taking insurance policy for food crops. The Centre is also evaluating the scheme followed by the Telangana and Odisha governments wherein a fixed amount is transferred directly into the bank account of farmers, the sources further said.

Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh had recently indicated that the government would announce an agriculture package before the 2019-20 budget. The NDA government will present an interim budget on February 1.

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The Hindu, 27 January, 2019, https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/union-cabinet-may-soon-approve-relief-package-for-farmers/article26105627.ece?homepage=true

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