1. Agriculture World

Punjab Govt Approves Rs 1,500 per acre Incentive to Farmers Adopting DSR

Farmers who choose DSR must register their interest on a portal developed in-house by a team of Mandi Board software developers. Farmers' databases from the Anaj Kharid Portal will be used, and officials will conduct on-the-ground verification of farmers who choose DSR.

Shivam Dwivedi
Bhagwant Mann, Chief Minister of Punjab
Bhagwant Mann, Chief Minister of Punjab

The Punjab Cabinet, led by chief minister Bhagwant Mann, approved a Rs 1500 per acre incentive to farmers for sowing paddy using this innovative technology on Wednesday to promote Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR) technology for conserving underground water.

According to an official spokesperson, Rs 450 crore has been set aside to provide incentives to farmers for the promotion of less water-consuming and cost-effective technology. It is estimated that the exercise will save approximately 15-20% of water compared to the traditional puddling (kaddu) method during the crop life cycle.

According to estimates, farmers used DSR on over 15 lakh acres last year, and with the current availability of implements, this number can be increased to 30 lakh acres. The water table is currently falling at a rate of 86 cm per year, putting the state in jeopardy of having no underground water available for the next 15-20 years.

Concerns have been raised about the rapidly depleting groundwater, owing primarily to the water-intensive traditional method of paddy transplantation.

The decision, according to the spokesperson, will encourage the majority of farmers to adopt this proven technique, which requires far less water for irrigation, improves percolation, reduces reliance on farm labour, and improves soil health, thereby increasing paddy and wheat yields by 5-10 percent.

It was decided to pay farmers financial assistance worth Rs 1500 per acre via Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), for which the Punjab Mandi Board's Anaj Kharid Portal has a database of approximately 11 lakh farmers linked with their Aadhaar details, mobile number, and bank account details.

Farmers who choose DSR must register their interest on a portal developed in-house by a team of Mandi Board software developers. Farmers' databases from the Anaj Kharid Portal will be used, and officials will conduct on-the-ground verification of farmers who choose DSR.

Currently, approximately 4000 officers from various departments such as Agriculture, Horticulture, Mandi Board, and Water & Soil Conservation will be assigned to duty for verification. The incentive amount will be credited to farmers' accounts via DBT after verification.

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