Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Current Affairs - 2019

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All about PM Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana

Union Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare has rolled out registration for the PM Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana to provide old age pension cover to farmers. It is new Central Sector Scheme envisioned with an aim to improve life of small and marginal farmers of the country. It is first of its kind pension coverage scheme since independence that s has been envisioned for farmers.

Key Features of Scheme

Intended Beneficiaries: It is voluntary and contributory for small and marginal farmer in entry age group of 18 to 40 years and whose cultivable land is 2 hectares or less.

Benefits: Beneficiaries on attaining the age of 60 years will get monthly fixed pension of Rs. 3000.

Contributions: Beneficiary farmers are required to make monthly contribution of Rs.55 to Rs.200, depending on their age of entry, in Pension Fund till they reach the retirement date i.e. the age of 60 years. Central Government will also equal contribute as contributed by the eligible farmer to Pension Fund. Farmers can opt to allow his/her monthly contribution to this scheme to be made from his benefits drawn from PM-KISAN Scheme directly. Spouse of farmer is also eligible to get separate pension of Rs.3000 upon making separate contributions to this pension fund.

Implementing agency: Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) will be Pension Fund Manager and also responsible for Pension pay out to farmers.

Transferability: In case of death of beneficiary farmer before retirement date, the spouse may continue in scheme by paying remaining contributions till remaining age of the deceased farmer. If spouse does not wish to continue, then total contribution made by farmer along with interest will be paid to spouse. If there is no spouse, then total contribution along with interest will be paid to nominee. If the farmer dies after retirement date, the spouse will receive 50% of fixed pension as Family Pension. After death of both the farmer and the spouse, accumulated corpus will be credited back to Pension Fund.

Exit: The beneficiary farmers may opt voluntarily to exit from this scheme after minimum period of 5 years of regular contributions. On exit, their entire contribution will be returned by LIC with interest equivalent to prevailing saving bank rates.

Telangana hosts 32nd ISTA Congress

Telangana is hosting the triennial International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) Congress in Hyderabad. ISTA congress is being held for the first time in Asia. The Congress being held from 26 June to 3 July 2019 is expected to help State to implement its plans into actions.

Key Highlights

Host: The eight-day conference is being jointly hosted by Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare and Telangana government.

The congress will have main event for three days and technical committee meetings/sessions over next 5 days.

Participants: Over 400 experts, policy makers, scientists, researchers and members of seed industry from more than 80 countries including the UK, South Africa, Argentina, New Zealand, Canada and Austria, will deliberate on seed policies, production and quality aspects.

Discussion: Conference will be attended by global stakeholders representing seed production, processing, seed testing laboratories, biotechnology and associated organisations that will be showcasing their products, solutions and services and will also discuss recent developments in seed research and in seed technology.

Workshops: are being held during the event, would focus on varietal identification, seed sampling, purity, germination and moisture.

Significance: State government of Telangana is keen towards making best use of ISTA 2019 platform to showcase state’s potential in seed production and export its seeds in international market.  State government is also planning to adopt latest technology and innovative methods to increase seed production, and to create awareness among farmers of State.

Why Telangana?

Telangana is India’s major hub of seed production as it meets about 60% of country’s needs in major crops like rice, soyabean, sorghum, maize, pearl millet and cotton.

As it is in Telangana, over 400 seed companies are operating with 413 seed processing and 13 seed testing units and about 2.5 lakh farmers in 1,500 villages are engaged in seed production in 3 lakh acres who produce about 65,000 tonnes seed of various crops.

It produces nearly 65 lakh quintals of seed every year and has also emerged as a major exporter through Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to various countries in Europe and South America, apart from Australia.

Also with a view of exporting seed, mainly under Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Telangana government has already started (from Kharif 2016) seed certification for this purpose with nodal agency called Telangana State Seed and Organic Certification Authority (TSSOCA).

About International Seed Testing Association

ISTA was formed in 1924 during 4th International Seed Testing Congress held in Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Function: It is an association of laboratories who are authorised to check on marketability of seed as defined in various countries’ laws. It also determines seeds ability to germinate, vigour of seed, and content of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in seed and test results, as certified by ISTA member laboratories, are accepted by trading partners of World Trade Organization (WTO) in international seed traffic.

The year 2019 sees the Seed Symposium of 32nd ISTA Congress.

ISTA 2019 Agenda

  1. Ensuring seed Health and Implications of Change for Seed Pathology
  2. Developments in Viability and Vigour Testing
  3. Ensuring Seed Quality for Future Generations
  4. Seed production in a Changing Environment
  5. New Technology and Novel Methods for Seed Quality Assessment