Govt proposes special package for drought-hit states: Singh

New Delhi, Aug 5: In view of shortfall in monsoon, the government on Tuesday said it plans to provide a special assistance package, including higher subsidy on seeds, to areas affected by drought. Listing out measures to deal with possible drought, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said so far, no state has announced drought.

He informed the Lok Sabha that subsidies would be increased on seeds apart from extending assistance for horticulture and fodder production.

"The government proposes to have a special assistance package to areas affected by drought... The proposal will be placed before the Cabinet," Singh said.

He was replying to a discussion on the flood and drought situation in the country. According to him, subsidy on diesel would be extended in areas where the rainfall has been less than 50 per cent and the same would be in place for the period from July 15 to September 30.

Besides, the subsidy on seeds would be increased by 50 per cent in areas where sowing has started but has been affected by shortfall in rain. In case drought is announced in any state, Singh said the government has proposed a Rs 700 crore scheme to rejuvenate horticulture crops and another Rs 100 crore programme for increasing fodder production.

The Minister noted that so far no state has reported that a particular district or area is under drought even as he acknowledged that delay in monsoon has resulted in shortfall in sowing. Singh also said the government is taking "swift action" to address shortage of storage facilities for foodgrains.

Citing initiatives to set up agricultural as well as horticulture universities in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Singh asserted there is no politics involved in addressing issues of the agriculture sector. "Try to understand the bonafide intentions of the government," he said. 


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