A public outreach programme of nine weeks with 70 Ministers of the central government visiting Jammu and Kashmir started Thursday with the visit of the Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar.
During their stay in Jammu and Kashmir, the Ministers will have interaction with the people, administration and representatives of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). Later they will forward comprehensive reports to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
“As part of the Government of India’s public outreach programme for Jammu and Kashmir, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar and two Minister of State held interactions with farmers, horticulturists, agriculture scientists and other stakeholders to get first-hand appraisals of numerous welfare schemes and policies being taken in the region,” a government spokesman said. He said the Minister was accompanied by his two deputies—Minister of State (MoS) for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Kailiash Choudhary and MoS Sushri Shobha Karandlaje.
Interacting with farmers, apple growers and horticulturists at the Center of Excellence at Zawoora Srinagar, Tomar said that numerous schemes have been implemented for farmers and growers welfare throughout the country and there is visible change on the ground also. Tomar said due to certain problems the region had suffered on development front but with the untiring efforts of PM Modi, J&K is progressing and playing its part in the country's progress. The Minister said the credit lending would be extended from other banks also. He said that the government will ensure that the farmers would be connected with hi-density infrastructure through Agri-Infrastructure funds.
In India total apple production is approximately about 28 lakh MTs and of which 20 lakh MTs are produced in Kashmir. Tomar said there is a huge potential for intensification of apple orcharding system under HDP with new varieties having better colour, aroma, shelf life, shape etc for better consumer acceptability and market demand.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha says the step will be a huge booster for achieving target of 5500Ha of high-density plantation for next five years and change the horticulture landscape of J&K.
The 50% capital support up to Rs. 22.15 lac/Ha is being provided by J&K Government under a high-density plantation scheme. A common farmer used to find it difficult to arrange another 50% capital due to the high interest rate. Now, the inclusion of HDPS under Agriculture Infrastructure Fund Scheme will make available the credit on interest subvention of 3% per annum for 7 years.
The credit guarantee coverage will be available for this financing facility under credit guarantee fund trust for micro and small enterprises scheme for a loan up to Rs. 2 crores.
Earlier 36 Union Ministers visited Jammu and Kashmir from January 18-24 in 2020. They had after their visit submitted their recommendations to the MHA and the PMO.
In the past 15 weeks, 13 Parliamentary Standing Committees (PSCs) comprising around 300 Members of Parliament (MPs) have visited Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Around ten more PSCs are also visiting Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.