Govt To Seek NABARD’s Help For Procuring Farm Produce In J&K: Fin Min

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman – File Pic

NEW DELHI – To ensure better price to the farmers of newly created union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the government will seek help of NABARD in procuring farm produce like saffron, peaches and walnuts from them.

Also, she said, the government wants to promote solar energy generation in the union territory (UT) of Ladakh, which is also carved out of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The government has recently procured apples from the farmers of UT of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) through National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED).

“Now I’m ensuring that I will take the chairman of NABARD to J&K even if it’s winter now because I want … the next crop of saffron, peaches and walnuts and other agri produce of J&K to get that kind of support which through NABARD the central government can extend to Jammu and Kashmir,” she said at an event organised by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).

NABARD Chairman Harsh Kumar Bhanwala said after the event, “Whatever responsibility is given by the government, we will do it.”

NABARD will speak to farmers of Jammu and Kashmir and understand their issues, he said, adding that efforts will be made to provide help farmers of saffron, peaches and walnuts.

Both long-term credit and short-term credit issues will also be looked at, he added.

Sitharaman further said, the government was focusing on the priorities of fishermen in the coastal and inland water areas.

“NABARD can focus on marketing of local nutrients in the coastal areas. It can work with the farmer producer organisations (FPOs) and self help groups (SHGs) in these areas to help increase nutritional input of the area, which could be well received in the wellness industry,” she said.

Pointing out that the government has taken various measures to promote financial inclusion and insuring un-insured and funding the un-funded, additional secretary in the finance ministry Debasish Panda said the effort is to ensure that the banking services are available within 5 km of every villages in the country.

Financial inclusion-led intervention over a short period of time has led to transformational and directional change, he said.

Highlighting some of the achievements of the financial inclusion drive of the government, Panda said Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan accounts have crossed 37 crore with deposit balance of over Rs 1 lakh crore.

Of this 53 per cent of the account holders are women and around 29.6 crore Rupay debit cards have been issued to these account holders.

With regard to insurance, he said, the government has launched flagship insurance schemes like Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) at affordable premium.

PMJJBY offers a renewable one-year life cover of Rs 2 lakh to all savings bank account holders in the age group of 18-50 years, covering death due to any reason, for a premium of Rs 330 per annum per subscriber.

On the other hand, PMSBY offers a renewable one-year accidental death- cum-disability cover of Rs 2 lakh for partial/permanent disability to all savings bank account holders in the age group of 18-70 years for a premium of Rs 12 per annum per subscriber.

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