Centre clears Rs 3.7 lakh crore package for farmers
NEW DELHI: The Centre has approved schemes worth over Rs. 3.70 lakh crore for the benefit of farmers. The PM Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Generation, Nourishment and Amelioration of Mother Earth (PM-PRANAM) scheme aims to boost the well-being of farmers, rejuvenate soil productivity and ensure food security and environmental sustainability. Under the scheme, financial assistance will be given to the states that promote alternative fertilisers and reduce chemical fertilisers. It will also continue the current urea subsidy scheme for three years ending March 2025, with an outlay of Rs. 3.68-lakh crore. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also approved Rs. 1,451 crore for promoting organic manure.
Regarding sugarcane, the government has increased the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) to Rs. 315 per quintal for the 2023-24 season. The FRP includes a premium for higher recovery rates and decreases for lower rates. Information and broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur highlighted the government's focus on agriculture and farmer support.
Union chemicals and fertilisers minister Mansukh Mandaviya announcing the decision after the Cabinet meeting, said, “The Cabinet decided to continue the urea subsidy scheme. The Cabinet approved '3.6-lakh crores for urea subsidy for three years -- from 2022–23 to 2024–25. It further introduced sulphur-coated urea (urea gold) to address the issue of sulphur deficiency in soil and save input costs for the farmers.”
He emphasised the government's commitment to sustainable agriculture and the promotion of indigenous urea production.
"The scheme is to ensure constant availability of urea to the farmers at the same price of Rs. 242 for a 45 kg bag, excluding taxes and neem coating charges. Out of the above-approved package, Rs. 3,68,676.7 crore have been committed for urea subsidy for three years," he said, highlighting the approval of the urea subsidy scheme, which ensures a consistent supply of urea to farmers at a fixed price.
"The Prime Minister has always been with ‘annadata’ and the government has given priority to agriculture and the farmers. So the Cabinet has increased the FRP of sugarcane to Rs. 315 per quintal for 2023–24, while last year's FRP of sugarcane was Rs. 305 per quintal and Rs. 210 per quintal in the 2014–15 season," information and broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur told the media.
In the current 2022–23 marketing year, about 3,353-lakh tonnes of sugarcane worth Rs. 1,11,366 crores have been purchased by sugar mills. During 2013–14, the mills had procured sugarcane worth Rs. 57,104 crores. "Under the Modi government, there are no protests from cane farmers over pending dues," the minister highlighted.
As per an official statement, the Cabinet approved the FRP of sugarcane for sugar season 2023–24 (October–September) at Rs. 315 per quintal for a basic recovery rate of 10.25 per cent. "It has also been approved to provide a premium of Rs. 3.07 per quintal for each 0.1 per cent increase in recovery over and above 10.25 per cent and a reduction in FRP by Rs. 3.07 per quintal for every 0.1 per cent decrease in recovery," it read.