Centre clears Rs 1,126 crore package for Idukki

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New Delhi, Nov 20 (UNI) Aimed at mitigating agrarian distress in Idukki district of Kerala, the Centre today announced a financial assistance of Rs 1,126 crore as part of the rehabilitation package for farmers in suicide prone districts in different states.

A meeting of the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, gave its approval for financial support for implementing various programmes and interventions suggested by the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai, which was assigned the study to suggest measures to mitigate agrarian distress in hilly Idukki district, which accounts for the major chunk of the country's production of cash crops such as pepper, cardamom, tea, coffee, banana and rubber.

Mr Prithviraj Chavan, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, told mediapersons that an assistance of Rs 764.45 crore was earmarked for programmes covering action for reviving ecological security and strengthening common facilities, strengthening of livelihood security of the farmers with crop specific programmes and integrating animal husbandry components for income enhancement.

The remaining Rs 361.55 crore has been earmarked for programmes relating to Cardamom Price Stabilisation Fund, one-time research grants to promote research on rubber, coffee, cardamom, pepper and tea, financial support for countervailing the high price of copper fungicides, award to innovating farmer breeders and insurance of banana crop.

Mr Chavan said the cabinet also gave its in-principle approval for provision of need-based additional financial allocations to the concerned ministries and departments of the central government for implementation of the programmes and interventions included in the package.

He said the programmes involving financial outlay up to Rs 50 lakh would be implemented by the Kerala government from their own funds under their schemes.

The Cabinet also gave its approval for constitution of implementation mechanism consisting of Idukki Aiswarya Samiti, Idukki Karma Samiti and Project Monitoring Committee as suggested by the Kerala government.

Idukki Aiswarya Samiti, chaired by Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, will decide policy matters, provide guidance and minoriting of task implementation.

Idukki Karma Samiti, chaired by the Chief Secretary, will leverage all commodity boards and government institutions under single command line for task implementation.

Project Monitoring Committee (PMC) under the chairmanship of the Agricultural production commissioner will coordinate and monitor the monthly activities and oversee the implementation for effective reporting to both the Samitis.

A fast track implementation mechanism as well as online monitoring and social monitoring would be introduced for effective implementation of the package, Mr Chavan said.

UNI SH PK HT1534

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