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GoM set up to mitigate plantation farmers' woes

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Apr 04 (UNI) The Cabinet has set up a Group of Ministers to completely overhaul the Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF) for the plantation crops, while a Committee has been set up to formulate an insurance package for the plantation farmers.

The GoM will comprise Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath and Minister for Overseas Affairs Vylar Ravi.

'' The GoM will finalise the plan to revamp the PSF which has so far remained a failure'', Minister of State for Commerce, Jairam Ramesh told newspersons here today.

Along with the GoM, the Commerce Ministry has appointed a one-man Committee of former Chairman of the Insurance and Regulatory Authority (IRDA) Chairman N Rangachary to come out with a viable insurance package for the plantation farmers. He would submit his report in three months, Mr Ramesh said.

Under the PSF, an assistance of Rs 500 is given to small plantation farmer. ''But it has taken us nowhere and now we are trying to get a scheme under which an assistance of at least Rs 5000 is granted to a farmer in a bad crop year'', the minister said.

Another important step to mitigate the problems of the plantations sectors encompassing tea, coffee, rubber, cardamom and pepper, would be passing of a Bill in Parliament to do away with an export cess.

The Bill is likely to be cleared by Parliament when it meets after the recess in the current session.

The Coffee Board has also roped in well-known marketing expert from Brazil Carlos Alberto to suggest ways and means to recapture India's coffe share in the Italian and Russian market which the country has lost to Vietnam.

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