Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has been conferred Agriculture Leadership Award-2012 for major policy initiatives and launching innovative programmes in agriculture, horticulture, dairy and livestock sector in the State under his leadership. The Award would be presented to him on 19th September, 2012 at New Delhi.

The decision to confer Award to Chief Minister was taken in the Organising Committee of Agriculture Leadership Awards-2012 which met at New Delhi under the chairmanship of Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, Father of India’s Green Revolution.

The Award has been conferred to the Chief Minister taking into consideration the strong performance on policy initiatives leading to better management of farm resources, crop diversification under Horticulture Technology Mission (HTM), revival of apple economy through policy interventions, marketing support programmes for F&V, promotion of organic agriculture, launch of soil health card scheme and substantial enhanced budget allocations resulting into State achieving sustainable enhanced growth in diversified agriculture production which have enhanced returns from farming and impacted the rural economy of the State positively.

The State Government had taken various initiatives to achieve inclusive growth in agriculture sector under his leadership during last four and half years which included Rs. 321 crore Crop Diversification Promotion Project in order to promote crop diversification and organic farming in a big way. Rs. 353 crore ‘Pandit Deen Dayal Kisan Baagwan Samridhi Yojna was launched under which 12500 poly houses covering an area of 11 lakh square meter, have been constructed and 12500 hectare area was brought under micro irrigation. The farm income had increased manifold and on farm employment was provided to 50,000 persons. The Government has also approved second phase of this scheme for Rs. 190 crores. The State had achieved record vegetable production of 13.50 lakh tonnes worth Rs. 2200 crores, a significant contribution to the GDP.

Rs. 100 crores were being spent every year under RKVY for achieving higher growth in agriculture sector. For this, district and State Agriculture Plans have been prepared. Rs. 100 crores ‘Modern Fruit and Vegetable Market’ was being set up at Parala in Shimla and similar market of Rs. 100 crores was being set up at Una in order to provide efficient marketing infrastructure.

Himachal Pradesh Government had also amended the APMC Act in 2005 making provisions for direct marketing, private markets and contract farming. Organic farming was being promoted in a big way. The State also notified ‘Organic Farming Policy in 2011, 4.14 lakh Vermi Compost Units have been set up and ‘State Organic Certification Agency’ shall be operationalized during this year. 5.95 lakh ‘Soil Health Cards’ have been given to the farmers and all farmers shall have soil health cards by the end of this year. Soil testing service had been brought under ‘H.P. Service Guarantee Act.’

All major crops alongwith commercial crops have been covered under ‘Crop Insurance Scheme’ where the State ‘Subsidy on premium had been increased from 10 percent to 50 percent. ‘Agriculture loans upto 10 lakhs have been exempted’ from stamp and registration charges. Tacavi and soil conservation loans of 43,485 farmers which were due since 1950-60 amounting to Rs. 4.95 crore have been waived off. Irrigation through micro irrigation and rain water harvesting had been given high priority. For proper planning, development and management of water resources ‘H.P. Water Management Board’ had been constituted.

Rs. 300 crore ambitious ‘Doodh Ganga Yojna’ had been started under which 5000 families were being benefited. Soft loans upto Rs. five lakh were being made available to the farmers at cheap rate of interest. Besides this, ‘Mukhya Mantri Arogya Pashu Dhan Yojna’ had been started to have atleast one veterinary institution in each panchayat. 1272 institutions were being opened under this scheme. ‘Bhed Palak Samridhi Yojna’ had also been started where loan upto Rs. one lakh was being made available for purchase of ‘Sheep and Lambs’ with 33 percent subsidy.

Rs. 85 crore ‘Apple Replantation Project’ had been started to replace old and low yielding varieties with more productive and quality varieties of apple root stocks. An area of 5000 hectare was being covered under this project. In order to protect the crops from hail, ‘Anti Hail Radar and Gun’ had been set up in Shimla district on experimental basis.

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