1. Agriculture World

DBT Scheme for Pesticide Subsidy Gets Poor Response in Himachal Pradesh

The Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme for providing subsidy on the purchase of pesticides to fruit growers has received a poor response. Only a handful of fruit growers have completed the required formalities to claim the subsidy.

Ayushi Raina
Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme, which provides fruit growers with a subsidy on pesticide purchases, has received a low response
Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme, which provides fruit growers with a subsidy on pesticide purchases, has received a low response

The Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme, which provides fruit growers with a subsidy on pesticide purchases, has received a low response. Only a handful of fruit growers have completed the necessary formalities to claim the subsidy.

"There has been a dismal reaction. Not many producers have come forward to claim the subsidy amount in Shimla district, where pesticide consumption is the greatest due to high apple production," says Desh Raj Sharma, Deputy Director, Shimla.  The response has been lukewarm in other districts as well.  

Until last year, when the scheme was implemented, producers could obtain subsidized pesticides from around 350 horticulture outlets in the state.  The Horticulture Department used to purchase pesticides costing around Rs.18 crore to Rs.20 crore from the market and sell it to the growers on subsidized rates. A producer can claim a subsidy of Rs.4000 per hectare under the DBT scheme for temperate fruits such as apple and pear, and Rs.2000 per hectare for subtropical fruits such as mango and guava. 

To apply for the subsidy, growers must purchase the pesticides mentioned in the Horticulture Department's spray schedule from the empanelled companies and then upload the bills along with the forms and revenue papers/Udyan card, to the e-Udyan portal. 

However, the initiative has thus far failed to pique the interest of producers. Even in a big horticultural block like Theog, the department has received 8 to 10 claims so far. "Perhaps many are unaware of the scheme or are hesitant due to the formalities involved," Suneel Sharma, HDO, Theog, said. 

The scheme's major drawback for growers is the small amount they will get. "The scheme provides a subsidy of Rs.4000 for one acre or 12.5 bighas.

The price will be somewhat more than Rs.300 per bigha, with the majority of cultivators owning 3 or 4 bighas. So, after completing the formalities and the running around, a grower will get Rs.1200 to Rs.1500 in a year. Who will be interested in such a scheme,” said Sanjeev Thakur, an orchardist in Rohru. 

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