Punjab selling High-powered tractors in huge numbers

The base of Punjab’s culture and heritage is farming; this is so because it has the highest amount of agriculture land. People in Punjab have been in the industry of farming since several generations and are carrying it forward today as well. In terms of technology, farming has come a long way in India, from what it used to be. With better technology, farmers in India can now irrigate large amount of land and get huge quantity of crops in less time and by putting in lesser efforts.

When it comes to farming, another thing that Punjab relates to, are its tractors. It has been using tractors since decades and has the best technology available in the country. The farmers have recently started using high-powered tractors and they are sold in the largest numbers in the state. On an average, in the whole country they are sold only 7-8 percent of the total number of tractors sold. But when we talk about Punjab alone, it sells around 30 percent of High-powered tractors, out of the total number of tractors sold.

These tractors are expensive, as they are priced at Rs. 6 lakh and above, still the state and its farmers are capable enough to afford this high technology and useful tractors, so that they can reap better produce. When the sale of these tractors is seen, Punjab has been topping the list since the year 2014 and it is followed by states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. The difference of number of tractors sold in Punjab in comparison to Uttar Pradesh and Haryana was around 2, 000 tractors in the year 2014-15. In the year 2015-16, the difference has lowered down to around 1, 000 in Uttar Pradesh and 2, 000 in Haryana.

There are various factors behind the increasing sale of these tractors in Punjab, but the major reasons is the possibility of multiple usages that these tractors are capable of. Also, the progressive farmers are doing so good that they can easily afford these tractors at this rate, so they would definitely prefer to go for better technology. These tractors help in completing the land operations in much lesser time in comparison to others, so the farmers can make full use of the small amount of time between two crops. Owning these tractors is also a sign of high standards for the farmers in the state, so to maintain they high status, they prefer going for these tractors in comparison to others.

Piggeries: A budding sector in Punjab

Punjab has witnessed a state wide transformation in the social, cultural, political and economic spheres of life. The transition from conventional to modern techniques of the agriculture sector, has given rise to six government pig breeding farms in the state. Keeping in view the fact that, pigs have got the highest feed conversion efficiency. The Punjab State Co – operative Agricultural Development Bank Limited, has initiated various schemes in favor of Piggeries in the state.

Piggeries - A budding sector in Punjab.png

Punjab being a state with approximately 50,000 pig population and 234 progressive piggery farmers, pork production was notched at nearly 76,000 tonnes in the year 2014 – 2015.

The state government has been conducive towards the needs of the piggery sector, which is clearly evident by its over – whelming loan schemes which are disbursed for the breeding of pigs and for meat business, and the setup of Asia’s first ultra – modern pig farm in Ludhiana.

The foundation stone of Asia’s first ultra – modern pig farm at Grewal Farm village Khassi Kalan, Ludhiana was initiated in the year 2013, by the Polar Genetic India Private Limited in collaboration with Alberta, Canada – based Polar genetics (2012) incorporated, primarily a genetically – improved swine genetics company. With the visionary eye of ‘Save farmer – Save nation’, the pig farm was initiated with the motive of making the piggery sector organized and more productive, with the help of scientific aid. It shall also cater to the needs of the farmers, by the provision of training in modern piggery breeding practices.

In contrast to the pig farm, the honorable chief minister of the state Mr. Parkash Singh Badal expressed in the British Pig Association (BPA) meet, his visionary far sight of the piggery sector in Punjab. The BPA export manager, Chris Jackson is said to ink a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the state government which shall certainly provide a boost to the piggery sector and its economic growth in the state.

The major exotic breed of pigs i.e. the large white York – shire, is used for cross breeding in the state which has certainly given a boost to genetic advancement in the indigenous breed of the pigs. In order to promote cross breeding, the exotic piglets of superior germ plasm are also supplied to the pig breeders from such farms.

The Punjab State Co – operative Agricultural Development Bank Limited, initiated the following loan scheme for providing a helping hand to the piggery sector in the state –

Items Unit Cost (in Rs.) Repayment period (in yrs.)
Pig Breeding farm 20 Female pigs + 4 Pigs  7,00,000/- 5 (grace period 1 year)
Pig rearing and Fattening  3 female pigs + 1 pig  1,00,000/-  -do-
Pig fattening  10 Piglets     80,000/-  -do-
Pig retail outlet 10,00,000/-  -do-
Pig Market   5,00,000/-  -do-

Over the years, such models and paradigms have succeeded to provide concrete results in the piggery sector, by enhancing its productivity and creating employment opportunities for the rural farmers.

Pb Govt coming to rescue of farmers facing damage to crops

With the farmers facing the wrath of weather gods or man-made calamity one after another season in Punjab, the state government has come up with new measures and a host of compensation packages for the farmers all over the state.

The basic objective of new measures which have been announced by the SAD-BJP government is to ensure that no section of farmers is left out.

Pb Govt coming to rescue of farmers facing damage to crops.pngIt was a result of holistic approach of Punjab government that after announcing relief to the cotton growers who suffered badly due to whitefly attack and the use of spurious seeds last year that the Chief Minister directed the revenue department to cover other crops like guar and vegetables too on a similar pattern as was being done in the case of damaged cotton crop. Badal had directed that after disposing of the objections raised by farmers, the revenue officials would release the compensation amount to the affected farmers as per the assessment. Clear instructions were given that the payment of compensation should be made directly to the cultivators in case the land was given on contract farming to the cultivators so as to mitigate hardships caused to them.

Relief to farmers for damage to crops

Last year as the government faced almost 60% loss to cotton crop in the Malwa region and in a bid to compensate the loss the state government cleared a compensation to the tune of Rs 600-crore to the affected farmers. The government first ordered a special girdawri and it came out that 6.75 lakh acres of land was affected in a whitefly attack. Out of this Cotton alone was sown on 11.25 lakh acres in the Malwa region. Farmers have ploughed back crop on 11,800 acres because of the pest attack.

Soon after the loss, the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal also ordered to give immediate compensation of Rs 10 crore to cotton growers whose crop was extensively damaged by whitefly attack.

The compensation was announced to those growers who have uprooted their crop because of the pest attack. Badal made the announcement in the wake of extensive damage to the crops. Out of 11,780 acres area ploughed back by the farmers, 5,000 acres fell in Muktsar, 3,727 acres in Fazilka, 2,090 acres in Bathinda, 539 acres in Mansa, 398 acres in Faridkot and 26 acres in Barnala districts. Badal had also assured farmers that the state government had already taken a decision to bail out farmers who had ploughed back their fields due to whitefly attack.

Other farmers who suffered loss not left behind

Besides taking serious view of sale of spurious pesticides and insecticides, Badal also issued directions to take strict action against those found involved in such illegal activities. It was part of this swoop down against such miscreants that the police officials had taken more than 200 samples of such substandard pesticides from the dealers in the Malwa belt and taken action subsequently. “Such dealers who had created havoc with the cotton and other crops nurtured with their blood, sweat and tears would be dealt with severely,” Badal has said.

Agriculture and Power departments were also asked to issue requisite notifications to initiate procedure for the release of new tube well connections to the farmers which would fulfil their need of irrigation and water requirement.

More tubewell connections bring cheer to farmers in Punjab

Realising the growing need of irrigation amongst the small and marginal farmers in the state, Punjab government has decided to give over 1.5 lakh tubewell connections to farmers after notifying a new agriculture policy. The process to release the new connections has already begun.

More tubewell connections bring cheer to farmers in Punjab.png

The decision comes in the backdrop of National Green Tribunal allowing Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to process applications of farmers who had applied for power connections to set up new tubewell power connections.  While allowing the release of new connections, the National Green Tribunal had directed the state government to first formulate a policy for release of connections in an organised and systematic way.

In fact the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal had earlier too had maintained that the small and marginal farmers would be given new tubewell power connections all over the state on priority.

“With the passionate efforts of Punjab government, the National Green Tribunal has lifted the ban on release of tubewell connections in Punjab. I appeal to all tubewell applicant farmers of Punjab whose demand notices have already been issued, to deposit the requisite amount in the concerned Sub Division Office of PSPCL and avail this golden opportunity to get their tubewell connections and be part of the progress in Punjab and contribute to the development of the state,” deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said, while making this announcement.

Keeping in view the concerns regarding depleting ground water in many parts of the state, the government has ensured that the new connections were released while keeping in consideration over-exploited and the safe areas with regard to groundwater levels.

The availability is being backed with the adequate power supply for irrigation so that the farmers can avail benefits.

Who are eligible

The applicants having land between 1 to 2.5 acre who have registered their applications from January 1,2014 to March 15, 2016 would be eligible for new tubewell power connections.

The eligible applicants have to submit their option for priority tubewell power connection to the concerned Sub Division Office of PSPCL on a plain paper by April 30,2016.

Earlier Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had asked power utility Punjab State Power Corporation (PSPCL) to formulate a new policy to grant fresh tubewell power connections to the marginal and small farmers for the current fiscal, realising that they would require facility in a major way.

Badal has been reiterating that the Punjab government was committed for the welfare of farmers, who were already facing a lot of hardships due to squeezed margins on account of non-remunerative MSP and have been finding it hard to pay their debts.
Giving much needed relief to the farmers, the state government earlier has also reimbursed PSPCL the pending arrears of Rs 357 crore on account of tubewell bills, concerning the period when tariff was imposed on farm sector. PSPCL had taken off these arrears from the accounts of the farmers concerned.

Badal prevails upon Centre for benefits to farmers

Badal prevails upon Centre for benefits to farmers

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who has been taking up the issue of farmers from time to time, has emerged as a champion for their cause with the Centre recently announcing a new crop insurance scheme which has lowest premium for farmers. Apart from taking his own initiatives at the state level Badal, who has risen from grass roots to become a statesman of farmers, has prevailed upon the centre to take some fresh measures to give much needed relief to the debt-ridden farmers.

It was only last year that Badal had requested the Union government to broaden the purview of Crop Insurance Scheme which was announced by the union government so that the small and marginal farmers could also benefit. Badal had suggested the centre to make changes in a few provisions of the scheme to make it more conducive for the farmers so they are adequately compensated for the damage caused to the crops due to climate and other natural disasters.

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), imbibing interest of Punjab farmers

In fact many see the stamp of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s suggestions in the recently announced Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), which is a new Rs.17,600-crore crop insurance scheme for farmers all over the country. Aimed at covering the loss of crops due to natural calamities like drought at a very low premium pay out by farmers, the scheme is expected to benefit debt ridden farmers of Punjab in a big way, apart from the peasant community in other states. The scheme will be rolled out from the coming kharif season starting June.

How the farmers will benefit

As per the scheme, the Centre will provide Rs.8,800 crore annually to make up for almost all of the premium for the crop insured. Besides, the state will also provide a matching contribution. Farmers will however have to pay only 2 % of the premium fixed by the insurance company for kharif food grains/oilseeds crops and 1.5 % for rabi food grains/oilseeds crops. For horticultural and commercial crops for both seasons, the premium has been fixed for 5%.

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with whom Badal shares a close association, while announcing the scheme has stated that the scheme is expected to bring about a major transformation to lives of farmers. The scheme includes successful aspects of the existing schemes and “effectively addresses” whatever was lacking in earlier schemes, he has added.

Benefits

Apart from having the lowest premium, the scheme provides easy usage of latest technology like mobile phone, quick assessment of damage and disbursement within a given time frame. Farmers can easily subscribe the scheme and get benefit.

The other important aspect of the scheme is that there is no provision of capping the premium rate so as to ensure farmers get a higher claim against the full sum insured. A minimum of 25% claim is to be settled directly on farmers’ bank account, which would help them counter financial uncertainties.

Other Highlights

The scheme will help individual small and marginal farmers to get full compensation in case of crop damage.

The farmers can get claims quickly by using smart mobile phone technology to click pictures of the crop damage and upload them on the crop insurance portal.

The Centre will allocate 90% of the funds as against the earlier provisions where centre and state had to contribute equally.

Even those farmers who have not applied for crop loans will be eligible for insurance.

The insurance companies will have to settle claims within 30 days.

Kisan Helplines: Bridging Gap between Farmers & Govt.

With an aim of providing the farmers the best of facilities available in the state, the government of the state decided to start a ‘Kisan Helpline’. Under the guidance of the Punjab agriculture university and the department of agriculture in state it has been decided to revive the ‘farmer’s service centres’.

Kisan Helpline - Bridging Gap between Farmers & Govt..png

Punjab is an agriculture state and to protect its farmers the step to start a ‘kisan helpline’ is beyond doubt a great one. The agriculture product of the state has been diminishing overall, in such a scenario providing expert help to the farmers from the Punjab agriculture university and the agriculture department gives the farmers a little edge.

Staff that is prepared to help the farmers on any issue be it related to sowing, harvesting and preserving the product will be readily available in these service centres. Punjab state chief minister also declared that these service centres would run awareness programmes to make the farmers aware about the various threats that prevail over their crop and also suggest solutions. Keeping the crop away from any disease will lead to successful product by the farmers.

The agriculture picture of the state and nation is on a dip with farmers giving up their lives due to problems of crop production or low value in the market. In such a case the Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP led government in the state of Punjab has stepped up to help its farmers. Department of agriculture with the Punjab Agriculture University and even krishi vigyan kendras will join hands this year to help the farmers in their tough times. Setting up ‘kisan helplines’ will maintain the interest of the farmers and attract the youth to the agrarian community.

Earlier this year the state Agriculture Department had set up a call centre to help the farmers protect their crop from the ‘yellow rust’ that destroys the wheat crop. Any farmers who wanted to know more about the infectious disease that eats up the crop could call the helpline from 6 AM to 10PM. Scientists and farm researchers were to be made available to assist the farmers on what they should do to get rid of the yellow rust.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal while informing the farmers of the state about the service centres, even asked the people handling the helplines that the work done should be on the ‘grass root level’ which would help the scientists analyse the actual problem faced by the farmers.

Organisations like IFFCO Kisan are handling the services for the state government, in order to help the farmers of the state. A helpline number has been set up which according to website of IFFCO KISAN is dedicated towards giving high quality information to the farmers of the rural areas.

The subscribers of the Green sim card given by the IFFCO Kisan can call a sic digit number 534351 to avail the services. Expert opinion is given on the matter and dedicated help is provided.

New bill for returning land acquired for SYL, raises hopes for Punjab farmers

New bill for returning land acquired for SYL, raises hopes for Punjab farmers.png

The Punjab Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal Land (Transfer of Property Rights) Bill, 2016, which the government passed in Assembly in March early this year, has revived the hopes of farming community in Punjab.

The legislation seeks to transfer 3,928 acres of land to the original landowners free of cost. The legislation is the second most significant move by the Punjab Assembly on the issue, after “Punjab Termination of Agreement Act 2004”, which nullified the agreement for sharing of water between Punjab and other states primarily Haryana.

Though following a plea by the neighbouring Haryana government, the Supreme Court has ordered a status quo on its implementation, the new legislation passed on March 14 has won affection of farmer community for ruling SAD-BJP government. Farmers have been in deep distress and the pro- farmers initiatives of Badal government have now raised hopes amongst them.
IMAGE SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA

The relevance of development can be gauged by the figures of debt on farmers which portray a dismal picture. A recent survey, ‘Indebtedness among Farmers and Agricultural Labourers in Rural Punjab‘, done for the Indian Council for Social Science Research shown the debt on the state’s farmers to the tune of Rs 69,355 crore. Of this, Rs 56,481 crore was borrowed from institutions.

Conducted under Gian Singh of Punjabi University in Patiala, the study blamed the financial distress of farmers on ever-decreasing minimum support prices (MSP) for crops, coupled with escalating costs of inputs such as fertiliser, diesel, seeds, pesticides and insecticides.

Other figures related to farmers’ debt in Punjab too are startling. The average debt per farming household in Punjab is Rs 5,52,064. While marginal farmers with up to 2.5 acre land have a debt of Rs 2,76,83, small farmers with up to 5 acre of land owe average debt of Rs 5,57,338. For semi-medium farmers who have land up to 10 acres, the debt is Rs 6,84,649, while for medium farmers (up to 15 acres) the amount is to the tune of Rs 9,35,608. Similarly for large farmers the average amount of debt is Rs 16,37,473.

Therefore it’s in the light of these mind boggling figures of debt of farmers that the new bill is likely to bring a major relief to many farmers in Punjab while underlining the pro farmer approach of SAD-BJP government.

The move directly affects the interest of Haryana which expectedly has moved the Supreme Court challenging it on the ground that it was against the spirit of riparian law and not constitutional. However Punjab government has reiterated that it does not have a single drop of water to spare and farmers’ interest in state were of supreme importance to the government.

Though the Supreme Court has ordered a status quo the Punjab government is hell bent on providing relief to the farmers by giving back this land which was acquired for constructing 212 km long canal in Punjab and Haryana more than three decades ago.

Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal while making an appeal to the farmers to be prepared to fight for their cause has reiterated that the government has done the right thing by introducing the bill, which was a step in the right direction to save farmers in Punjab.