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CHANDIGARH: Haryana Finance Minister Ajay Singh Yadav on Wednesday urged the Centre to immediately draft a comprehensive policy for insurance coverage of all important food crops and start a technology mission on farm mechanisation.
Speaking during pre-Budget consultations held by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee with Finance Ministers of the States and Union Territories in New Delhi, he said all districts of Haryana should be covered under the National Food Security Mission.
Capt. Yadav also said the Minimum Support Price for the crops should be at least 50 per cent higher than the cost of cultivation as suggested by the Working Group on Agriculture Production. He also sought a special package in the Union Budget of 2011-12 for soil and water conservation.
He said the Weather-Based Crop Insurance Scheme be made affordable for the farmers. Norms of Calamity Relief Fund should be revised and the compensation for crop loss due to natural calamities like floods, drought, frost be enhanced to at least Rs.25,000 per hectare. There is also, he added, a need to empower the States to use at least 10 per cent of these funds for prevention of floods and drought.
He also sought assistance for States which had implemented the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission and paid the arrears as well. He further called for stepping up capital investment in agriculture and rural areas.
Expressing concern over lack of adequate storage facilities and consequent wastage of foodgrains, he proposed that efforts should be made at the national level for building modern silos to arrest post-harvest losses.
Capt. Yadav suggested that the Centre design a well-coordinated strategy and cohesive policy to ensure that its targeted addition of generation capacity is achieved through domestic supply of coal to thermal plants.
The Union Budget 2011-12 should not only announce the opening of the coal mining sector for private sector participation but also include fiscal incentives for the same, he said.
The Minister urged the Centre to speedily approve the City Development Plan (CDP) for Greater Panchkula costing Rs.6,019.38 crore and extend the benefit of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) to all towns with a population of more than three lakh.
Haryana has already requested the Union Urban Development Ministry to include Kurukshetra and Gurgaon under this scheme, he added.
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