Chandigarh, May 18
The Punjab Cabinet on Wednesday approved an incentive of Rs 1,500 per acre for farmers sowing paddy through direct seeding of rice technique.
A sum of Rs 450 crore has been earmarked to provide incentive to farmers for promotion of less water-consuming and cost-effective DSR (Direct Seeding of Rice) technology.
The Cabinet in a meeting chaired by chief minister Bhagwant Mann here gave its approval to the incentive scheme.
Last month, Mann had announced this incentive to check depleting ground water table in the state.
Under the DSR technique, paddy seeds are drilled into the field with the help of a machine that does seeding of rice and spray of herbicide simultaneously.
According to the traditional method, first young paddy plants are raised by farmers in nurseries and then these plants are uprooted and transplanted in a puddled field.
According to a spokesperson of the chief minister’s office, the incentive will encourage farmers to adopt this proven technique which needs far less water for irrigation, improves percolation, reduces dependence on farm labor and improves soil health, thus enhancing yield of both paddy and wheat by 5-10 per cent.
The Cabinet also decided to pay the financial assistance worth Rs 1,500 per acre to the farmers through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for which ‘Anaj Kharid’ portal of Punjab Mandi Board has already prepared a database of around 11 lakh farmers linked with their Aadhaar details , mobile number and bank account details.
The farmers opting for DSR will have to register themselves on a portal which will be developed in-house by a team of software developers of the Mandi Board.
As per the available data, last year farmers had sown paddy using DSR over 15 lakh acres.
The Cabinet also gave approval to enhance rates of ex-gratia grant to families of martyr soldiers from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore.
In recognition of the gallantry services of defense services personnel, the Cabinet also approved enhancement by 40 per cent in amount of cash in lieu of land and cash award to distinguished services award winners.
Because of this, the amount of cash in lieu of land has been enhanced for Sarvottam Yudh Seva Medal winners from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.80 lakh, for Uttam Yudh Seva Medal winners from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.40 lakh, for Yudh Seva Medal winners from Rs. 50,000 to Rs 70,000.
The amount of awards has not been enhanced since 2011.
Also, the Cabinet has decided to hire services of retired ‘patwaris’ and ‘kanungos’ (revenue officials) on contract basis against 1,766 regular posts of ‘patwaris’.