PIB – 09th Feb 2021

Central Sector Scheme on ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi’

  • In pursuance to Budget 2018 announcement regarding a special Scheme to support the efforts of the governments of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and the NCT of Delhi to address air pollution and to subsidize machinery required for in-situ management of crop residue, a Central Sector Scheme (100% funded by the Central Government) on ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi’ has been implemented during 2018-19 and 2019-20.
  • This Scheme was further extended for the year 2020-21. During the years 2018-19 to 2020-21, Rs. 1726.67 crore have been provided to these States. Out of these funds the States have supplied more than 1.58 lakh machines to the individual farmers and to 30,961 Custom Hiring Centres. 
  • The residue burning events in 2020 in Punjab, Haryana and UP together have reduced by -30% as compared to 2016. In Punjab the reduction is -22.7%, Haryana – 63.8% and UP – 52.01%.

PROMOTION OF AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION FOR IN-SITU MANAGEMENT OF CROP RESIDUE IN THE STATES OF PUNJAB, HARYANA, UTTAR PRADESH AND NCT OF DELHI, scheme details:

Objectives of the Scheme 

(i) Protecting environment from air pollution and preventing loss of nutrients and soil micro-organisms caused by burning of crop residue; 

(ii) Promoting in-situ management of crop residue by retention and incorporation into the soil through the use of appropriate mechanization inputs; 

(iii) Promoting Farm Machinery Banks for custom hiring of in-situ crop residue management machinery to offset the adverse economies of scale arising due to small landholding and high cost of individual ownership. 

(iv) Creating awareness among stakeholders through demonstration, capacity building activities and differentiated Information, Education and Communication strategies for effective utilization and management of crop residue. 

Scheme Strategy: 

To achieve the above objectives, the scheme will adopt the following strategies: 

(i) Provide financial assistance to farmers for procurement of in-situ crop residue management machinery and equipment. 

(ii) Provide financial assistance to the Co-operative Societies of farmers, FPOs, Self-Help Groups, Registered Farmers Societies / farmers groups, Private Entrepreneurs, Group of women farmers or self-help groups for establishment of farm machinery banks for custom hiring of in-situ crop residue management machinery. 

(iii) Provide financial assistance to promote use of in-situ crop residue management machinery among farmers by way of on-field and off field training and demonstrations. 

(iv) Provide financial assistance to the State Governments, KVKs, ICAR institutions, Central Government institutions, PSUs etc. for the activities to be undertaken towards Information, Education and Communication (IEC). 

Components of the Scheme 

The Scheme will have the following major components (100% Central Share): 

(i) Establish Farm Machinery Banks or Custom Hiring Centres of in-situ crop residue management machinery. 

(ii) Procurement of Agriculture Machinery and Equipment for in-situ crop residue management. 

(iii) Information, Education and Communication for awareness on in-situ crop residue management.

Role of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) 

(i) The State Government and other designated implementing agencies, to the extent possible, will ensure active participation of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in the implementation of this scheme. 

(ii) PRIs may also be involved in publicizing the demonstrations and training of farm equipment and in ensuring participation of farmers from nearby areas for widespread dissemination of technologies. 

Initiatives of Government of India to Promote Farm Mechanization

  • Agricultural mechanization is crucial in the agriculture sector as it contributes towards improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the inputs used in the crop production thereby also increasing the productivity of crops. This also reduces drudgery associated with various farm operations.
  • Taking into consideration the above, to boost the farm mechanization in the country, a special dedicated scheme ‘Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM)’ has been introduced by Government of India in 2014-15. 
  • The scheme aims at ‘reaching the unreached’ by making farm machines accessible and affordable for the small and marginal farmers (SMFs) through establishment of Custom Hiring Centers(CHCs) , creating Hubs for hi-tech & high value farm equipment and Farm Machinery Banks. 
  • Distribution of various subsidized agricultural equipment and machines to individual farmers is also one of the activities under the scheme. 
  • Purchasing farm machines for SMFs is not financially feasible therefore custom hiring institutions provide for hiring options of machines to SMFs. Creating awareness among stakeholders through demonstration of machine operations and skill development of farmers and youth and others are also the components of SMAM. 
  • The performance testing and certification of machines at designated testing centers located all over the country are ensuring farm machinery qualitatively, effectively and efficiently.
  • During 2014-15 to 2020-21, a sum of Rs.4556.93 crores of funds have been released under the scheme to the States and other implementing institutions. As of now, more than 13 lakh agricultural machines have been distributed and more than 27.5 thousand Custom Hiring Institutions established. For 2021-22 Rs. 1050 crore budget has been allocated for SMAM which is more than the previous year.
  • The programs and schemes of GOI on farm mechanization have resulted in progressive increase in the availability of farm power per unit area for performing various agricultural operations. The farm power availability has increased from 2.02 kw/ha in 2016-17 to 2.49 kw/ha in 2018-19. There has been a significant increase in adoption of agriculture machines over a period of time which has found expression in the phenomenal expansion of cropped area, cropping intensity and the country’s agricultural production.

Steps taken by Government to ameliorate impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Indian economy

  • The Government announced a special economic and comprehensive package under AtmaNirbhar Bharat including measures taken by RBI amounting to about Rs. 27.1 lakh crore – more than 13 per cent of India’s GDP– to combat the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to revive economic growth. 
  • The package included, among others, in-kind and cash transfer relief measures for households, employment provision measures under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan and increased allocation under MGNREGS, credit guarantee and equity infusion-based relief measures for MSMEs and NBFCs and regulatory and compliance measures. 
  • Structural reforms were also announced as part of the AtmaNirbhar Bharat Package which, inter alia, included deregulation of the agricultural sector, change in definition of MSMEs, new PSU policy, commercialization of coal mining, higher FDI limits in defence and space sector, development of Industrial Land/ Land Bank and Industrial Information System, revamp of Viability Gap Funding scheme for social infrastructure, new power tariff policy and incentivizing States to undertake sector reforms.

The implementation of the package is reviewed and monitored regularly. Some of the salient achievements include:

  • Under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package valued at Rs. 2.76 lakh crore, free food grain for 80 crore people, free cooking gas for 8 crore families, and direct cash transfer to over 40 crore farmers, women, elderly, the poor and the needy were provided.
  • As on 3rd February, 2021, a total of 323.19 crore person-days have been generated in the current FY 2020-21 under MGNREGS.
  • Under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan, 50.78 crore person-days of employment was generated incurring an expenditure of Rs. 39,293 crore.
  • Rs. 3 lakh crore Collateral-free Automatic Loans for Businesses, including MSMEs: Under Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) 1.0, Rs. 2.14 lakh crore has been sanctioned to 90.57 lakh borrowers of which Rs 1.65 lakh crore has been disbursed to 42.46 lakh borrowers as on 8th January, 2021. 
  • Rs. 45,000 crore Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme 2.0 for NBFCs are being provided. Purchase of a portfolio of Rs. 27,794 crore has been approved by PSBs and Rs. 1400 crore are currently in process of approval/negotiations as on 4th December, 2020.
  • Rs. 30,000 crore Additional Emergency Working Capital Funding for farmers through NABARD is being provided. Rs. 25,000 crore has been disbursed so far as on 4th December, 2020. Under balance Rs. 5000 crore Special Liquidity Facility for smaller NBFCs and MFIs, Rs. 130 crore has been disbursed as on 4th December, 2020.
  • Centre had enhanced the borrowing limit for the States from 3% to 5% of GSDP for FY2020-21. Under the Special Window provided by Central Government to borrow the shortfall arising out of GST implementation on behalf of States, Government of India has borrowed an amount of Rs. 78,000 crores in 13 instalments, at an average interest rate of 4.75 per cent, and passed it on to the States and UTs as on 25th January, 2021.
  • Rs. 50,000 crore liquidity through TDS/TCS rate reduction has been effected.

Secretary Labour and Employment briefs media on labour initiatives announced in Union Budget 2021

One Nation One Ration Card:

  • It will benefit migrant workers, building and other construction workers, textile sector workers and other workers.
  • Beneficiaries can claim their ration anywhere in the country. This scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Food and Public Distribution.
  • Migrant workers, in particular, will benefit from the scheme.
  • Those staying away from their families can partially claim their ration where they are stationed, while their family in their native places can claim the rest.

Launching of Portal for the unorganised labour:

  • The work on setting up of the portal by this Ministry is progressing as per the schedule.
  • Portal will collect relevant information on gig, building and construction workers, among others.
  • It will help to formulate Health, Housing, Skill, Insurance, Credit and food schemes for migrant workers.
  • The Portal will be rolled out by May/June 2021 for registration and other facilities of workers in the unorganised sector, including gig and platform workers and migrant workers.
  • Enrolled workers will be provided with an incentive of free coverage for a period of one year for accidental and disability cover under Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana(PMSBY).
  • The Labour Bureau, an attached office under this Ministry, has started vigorously work on four new surveys for Migrant workers, Domestic workers, Employment generated by Professionals and Transport Sector. It will also commission “ All India Establishment based Employment Survey(AIEES)”. Results of all these surveys are likely to come within 8-9 months from the start of actual field surveys.

Rules for four (4) labour codes:

  • Rule making process is already underway and likely to be completed in the coming week. All stakeholders are also consulted in framing of rules.
  • This Ministry would soon be in a position to bring into force the four Codes, viz., Code on Wages, Industrial Relations, Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions and Social Security Codes. 

Timely Deposit of contribution towards Provident Fund etc

  • It is a very good announcement in the budget as it will provide security of amount deducted by employer towards payment of contribution deducted from employee on account of employees Provident Fund and Employees Insurance Scheme.

Rationalisation of Tax-free Income on Provident Funds

  • This decision will stop high net worth individuals from misuse of a welfare facility and earn wrongfully tax-free income as assured interest return.
  • Interest portion is calculable on a year-to-year basis just like bank interest.
  • Tax payers will be required to include the annual income from contribution beyond Rs 2.5 lakhs into their PF accounts while filing their returns.