First of all, I wish all our readers a very happy and prosperous New Year-2016. Haryana has maintained its leadership position, in agriculture, in the country as one of the most important food bowls, being the second largest contributor to our national food reserves. In recent past, Haryana has achieved the highest productivity in the country in case of wheat and top position in export of basmati rice. This has been possible through the hard work of farmers, technical input by scientists and policy support by the government. Despite the above achievements some second generation problems are knocking the door these includes climate change, degradation of natural resources and emerging pest and insects. The year 2015 turned out to be a very bad crop year as in the beginning of year there were widespread losses to the wheat crop. The wheat crop sown in about 25 lakh acres in Haryana in the last rabi season was damaged by unseasonal rains and hailstorm and losses between 25 to 100 % were recorded in the affected areas. This season also badly affected the production of mustard in Haryana. This was followed by extensive damage to cotton crop in the kharif season by severe attack of white flies in an epidemic form. The insect attack also caused damage to guar and other crops. The successive crop failures resulted in a crisis situation for the farmers. The state Government stood by the farmers and took a welcome step by providing the highest ever and quickest ever compensation for the wheat crop losses amounting to Rs 1,092 crores in the state. Compensation for losses in the cotton crop are under process.
Besides, timely and appropriate compensation, the government took certain steps that would bring about long term changes for the betterment of the farmers. The state government is working on an ambitious crop insurance scheme that is farmer friendly as a long term solution to high level of risk faced in agriculture. The Govern-ment of Haryana has also brought in legislation for the protection and conservation of cows in the state. The purpose of the new law is prohibition of cow slaughter in the state and to make schemes, projects and programmes for conservation and development of indigenous breeds of cows. In this regard, the State Government will establish laboratories for differentiating beef from the meat of other animals and for testing and identification of various constituents of milk and milk products. It would have a positive impact on animal husbandry in Haryana. Programmes for micro-irrigation and rain water harvesting are also being launched, for the ultimate benefit of farmers.
The Central Government has also launched two mobile apps Viz. AgriMarket Mobile App and Crop Insurance Mobile App. These apps will help farmers to get information related to crop insurance and prices of agri- commodities in different mandies across the country. Farmers can get information related to coverage amount, sum insured, extended sum insured, premium for notified crops, and subsidy information on any notified crops. AgriMarket Mobile App will provide information on prices of crops in markets and help to keep farmers abreast of crop prices and discourage them to go for distress sale.
WITH BEST WISHES FOR A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR-2016.
(Varinder Singh Kundu, IAS)