Announcing a number of proposals for the sectors of agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, fisheries and other related areas, in the budget for the year 2013-14, the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar, declared that the fishing ban period followed in Goa would be extended from the current 45 days to 75 days, from this season.
The ban period would be applicable to both, owners of fishing trawlers as well as canoes with outboard motors. The government also announced a scheme named after the former tourism minister, Mathany Saldanha, for providing a rehabilitation package for these sections of the fisherman. Under the particular scheme, the owners of the fishing trawlers will receive Rs 10,000 for a period of extra month of the fish ban period, while the owners of the canoes with outboard motors will receive Rs 20,000 for a period of extra two-and-a-half months of the fish ban period.
Stating that this decision would result in increased production of fish, the Chief Minister said that a provision of Rs 3 crore has been made for the scheme. The government will further set up a Fishermen Corpus Fund for financially assisting the fishermen during the time of emergency. To begin with, provision of Rs one crore has been made in the budget for this fund. The annual financial statement also proposes construction of four fish landing centres around the state, in the coming year.
Yet another decision for the fishermen proposes a scheme to replace kerosene overboard machine of the vessel with petrol overboard machine. A budgetary provision for replacement of the machines as well as petrol subsidy amounts to Rs 12.18 crore.
Stating that the financial assistance from the government to the agriculture sector has been so poor that it has failed to salvage this sector, the Chief Minister, who also holds the agriculture portfolio, said that the Support Price Scheme of the government for crops like paddy, coconut, cashew, areca nut and sugarcane has fortunately been very helpful to their cultivators, and this financial year, around 18,000 people have taken benefit of the scheme. He also informed that a total of 147 people were benefited from the Solar Power Battery Fencing Scheme of the government.
The budget speech of the Chief Minister informed that the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of the agriculture sector has touched the Rs 700 crore-mark. It also informed that the government is in the process of creating a disciplined value chain with programmes like maintenance of agricultural equipments, raising nursery, growing vegetables by organic methods, raising honey bees, fruit pulp processing and so on.
The Chief Minister further stressed on issuance of the Kisan Card for the farmers, cultivators and agriculturists, which will carry all the details of their cultivable lands. He further said that the government proposes to provide upto Rs 30,000 loan at one per cent interest to the farmers, cultivators and agriculturists carrying the Kisan Card, according to the size of their land. This scheme will also be applicable to the dairy farmers as well as fishermen.
The government further announced that with an objective to provide market to the farmers, cultivators and agriculturists, it will set up Drive-in Farmer Market at Goa Velha, Priol-Farmagudi, Verna and Barsem. A provision of Rs 4 crore has been made in the budget for the same.
Informing about the success of the cattle melas organised by the government during this year, the Chief Minister said that a total of 1,421 hybrid cows were provided to the dairy farmers through these melas, on grant-in-aid basis. He further stated that in order to strengthen the dairy sector in the state, the government intends to provide financial assistance to the milk producers’ co-operative institutions, for their management and administrative expenses. An amount of Rs one crore has been earmarked in the budget for the purpose. [NT]