Itanagar: Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Friday asked the departments of agriculture and horticulture to make optimum use of the land available in the state to make Arunachal Pradesh self-reliant.
“As per official records, we have almost 25 lakh hectares of cultivable land available in our state but unfortunately we are using only 3.5 lakh hectares at the moment. We need to utilize our land bank optimally for our state to become atma nirbhar,” Khandu said.
The chief minister said this while launching the ‘Atma Nirbhar Krishi Yojna’ and ‘Atma Nirbhar Bagwani Yojna’ for the agriculture and horticulture departments here.
The schemes are part of the Atma Nirbhar programme announced during the Budget session held in February this year. A total amount of Rs 120 crore – Rs 60 crore for each scheme – has been allocated to the two departments.
The Atma Nirbhar Krishi Yojna under the department of agriculture is the subsumed version of the erstwhile Chief Minister’s Sashakt Kisan Yojna and Chief Minister’s Samuh Yojna with more thrust and provision of bank loan. Likewise, the Atma Nirbhar Bagwani Yojna is the earlier scheme called Chief Minister’s Sashakt Kisan Yojna under the department of horticulture.
Lauding the agriculture and horticulture departments and the banks for coming with proper guidelines of the schemes that will immensely benefit farmers and Self Help Groups (SHGs) across the state, Khandu appealed all to get in touch with their respective district administrations to get the details and avail the schemes.
“These two schemes are unique as these are both based on front-ended subsidies. Credit link will be provided to the beneficiaries by SBI, Arunachal Pradesh Rural Bank and Arunachal Pradesh Cooperative Apex Bank,” Khandu said.
He informed that no land document like Land Possession Certificate (LPC) will be required for SHGs availing the schemes. A simple certificate from the concerned EAC, CO or BDO will serve the purpose.
Also there would be no collateral (guarantee or mortgage) in respect of individual schemes up to Rs 1.60 lakh. For SHGs collateral will not be required for loans up to Rs 10 lakh.
“The best part is that the components of the schemes will be 45% government subsidy, 45% bank loan and only 10% will have to be borne by the farmer,” informed Khandu.
He expressed optimism that the schemes will be very much beneficial to about 3700 SHGs of the state, which have women members as majority.
Stressing on timely implementation of the schemes as farming is dependent on seasons, the chief minister asked the implementing agencies not to wait for the last dates set up for processes like selection of beneficiaries, etc.
The Bagwani Yojna is for cultivation of fruits like apple, kiwi, orange, arecanut, walnut and persimmon while the Krishi Yojna will deal with scientific land terracing, tea and rubber, double cropping, farm mechanization, FPO, cultivation of buckwheat, O-bollu, apiculture, etc.
The schemes will be implemented through a state level committee headed by the chief secretary and district level committees headed by respective deputy commissioners. The District Agriculture and district Horticulture Officers will be the implementing officers, who will be selecting the beneficiaries in the districts.
The guidelines for implementation of the schemes have been prepared by NABCONS, the consultant agency of NABARD.
Expressing gratitude to the banks and NABARD, Khandu said under the present government at the centre, the agri-horti sector is getting a push never seen before, especially in the North East.
“Recently the union cabinet has revived the North East Regional Marketing Corporation which will be hand holding the NE states in marketing their products. Also the Centre has relaunched the Oil Palm Mission in the region with an amount of Rs 11040 crore for five years,” he informed.
In fact, the oil palm program was being implemented in the state a few years back but it couldn’t succeed. About 4000 hectares of oil palm trees were cultivated but the promoters failed to establish their factories resulting in loss to the farmers.
Khandu said incentives this time have been doubled, which should be viable for promoters.
“We are in touch with some of the promoters and we target to cultivate at least 15000 hectares this year,” he said.
He called upon the deputy commissioners, especially of the foothill areas, who were virtually connected to the program, to study feasibility of oil palm cultivation in their respective districts.
The chief minister revealed that he has offered to host the proposed regional level oil palm business summit at Namsai anytime soon. Besides attracting investors, he said the summit will also educate farmers of the state.
The launching ceremony was attended by deputy chief minister Chowna Mein, agriculture minister Tage Taki and others.
Meanwhile, MoUs were also signed between the state government and the banks viz., State Bank of India, State Cooperative Apex Bank and State Rural Bank to mark the occasion.