New Delhi: Pulse prices are under control after the government took proactive steps, President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday said, emphasising that the government's focus has been on "holistic development" of the farm sector.
The President also said the acreage under kharif and rabi crops has risen this year on account of favourable monsoon after consecutive years of drought.
"Honourable members may recall that soaring prices of pulses was a matter of grave concern around this time last year. My government has taken proactive steps, and prices of pulses are now under control," Mukherjee said while addressing the joint sitting of Parliament.
To ensure a fair price for farmers and to protect consumers, he said the government has created a buffer stock of 20 lakh tonnes of pulses, against which 8 lakh tonnes have already been procured.
Last year, pulse prices in retail markets had crossed Rs 200 per kg due to fall in domestic output in the wake of drought conditions. However, the situation this year is expected to improve on account of good monsoon.
"A favourable monsoon after consecutive years of drought, supplemented by farmer-oriented schemes, has increased the acreage and yield of most Kharif crops. The sown area in the current rabi season has shown 6 per cent increase in comparison to the last year," he said.
Asserting that the nation's prosperity lies in the welfare of farmers, the President said the government has taken various steps to transform the lives of farmers.
"Focus has been on the holistic development of agriculture sector -- making available affordable credit, ensuring assured supply of seeds and fertilisers, improving irrigation facilities, comprehensive risk coverage, improving productivity through Soil Health Cards, assured market and remunerative prices for the produce through National Agriculture Market (e-NaM)," he said.
Mukherjee further said the government's new crop insurance scheme Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana expanded the ambit of risk coverage, doubled the sum insured and facilitated lowest-ever premium for farmers.
"During Kharif 2016, around 3.66 crore farmers were insured for a sum of Rs 1.4 lakh crore," he said.
For better credit flow, Mukherjee said the government is taking steps to convert 3 crore Kisan Credit Cards into RuPay debit cards soon.
The corpus of Nabard fund has been doubled to Rs 41,000 crore to ensure easy credit access to farmers, he said. More than 12.7 lakh hectares have been brought under micro irrigation in the last two years under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, he added.
The farm and allied sector contribute 15 per cent to the country's total GDP and the sector is expected to expand by 4.1 per cent in 2016-17 from 1.2 per cent last year....