Mobile soil testing labs in 250 districts:Budget

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New Delhi, Feb 29 (UNI) Finance Minister P Chidambaram has announced the setting up of one fully-fitted mobile soil testing laboratory each in 250 districts of the country before March 2009.

While presenting the Union Budget 2008-09 in the Lok Sabha today, the Finance Minister said a one time allotment of Rs 75 crore would be given to the Agriculture Ministry to provide the mobile soil testing laboratories.

In addition to this, 500 soil testing laboratories would be set up in the public private sectors during the eleventh Plan with the Government's assistance of 13 lakh per laboratory.

Special thrust was being given to the revival of crops such as coconut, cashew and peeper under the National Horticulture Mission (NHM), he said, adding an outlay of Rs 1,100 crore had been allocated for the same. The NHM now covers 340 districts in 18 states and 2 Union Territories. An area of 2,76,000 hectares had been brought under horticulture crops and an area of 56,000 hectares of old plantations had been rejuvenated.

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