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FM moots 16-point plan to revive agri, allied sectors

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New Delhi, Feb 1: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday mooted a 16-point plan to revive the agriculture and allied sectors.

Presenting her second Union Budget on Saturday, Sitharaman announced funding allocations totalling Rs 4.06 lakh crore for the agriculture and rural sectors.

Out of this, Rs 2.83 lakh crore will be allocated to agriculture while Rs 1.23 lakh crore will be provided for rural development and Panchayati Raj.

Announcing her 16-point programme to boost agriculture and allied rural sectors, Sitharaman said the Central government proposes to encourage the state governments to undertake implementation of three modern agriculture laws, including the Contract Farming Act 2018 and the Land Leasing Act 2016 .

Comprehensive measures for 100 water-stressed districts, expansion of PM Kusum Scheme to enable 20 lakh standalone farmers to set up solar power plants, promoting balanced use of fertilisers are also part of the proposed 16-point plan.

In a bid to involve more women and increase income generation for women, the Finance Minister announced the Dhanyalakshmi Village Storage scheme to be managed by women self help groups. The scheme will help farmers store more of their farm produce and reduce logistics costs.

Under the 16-point plan, Sitharaman plans to introduce rail and air transport support for transporting perishable agriproduce. Kisan Express, in public-private-partnership, from the Indian Railways and Krishi Udaan from Ministry of Civil Aviation are to be introduced for this purpose.

The horticulture sector will also be a thrust area under Sitharaman’s 16-point programme. Under the plan, states will be encouraged to promote the concept of ‘one district — one product’. Similarly, integrated farming systems such as bee-keeping will be encouraged in rainfed areas.

Sitharaman also announced that the NABARD finance scheme will be further strengthened.

Eliminating ‘foot and mouth’ disease in cattle and PPR in sheep and goat by 2025 is also part of the plan. Artificial insemination of livestock is to be increased from 30 per cent to 70 per cent.

Developing marine produce is also on the anvil with plans to raise fish production to 200 lakh tonnes by 2125. Involving coastal youth in fishing activities through Sagar Mitras is also part of the Finance Minister’s plan to stimulate the agri and allied sectors.

Cities

Two more Covid-19 cases in Bengal, count now 20

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Covid 19 Doctor

Kolkata, March 29 : Two persons, including an Army doctor, were on Sunday detected with the coronavirus infection here – in the first case of a medico getting afflicted with the dreaded Covid-19 in West Bengal, where the disease count has now gone up to 20.

The 52-year-old anaesthesiologist is now admitted at the Command Hospital, Alipore, state Health Department sources said.

A 66-year-old man also tested positive for the disease.

One person has died due to Covid-19 in the state so far.

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India

979 confirmed COVID-19 cases in India, 106 new cases, 6 new deaths

Coronavirus Outbreak LIVE Updates: 106 new cases, six deaths in last 24 hours, total now 979, says health ministry

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New Delhi, March 29 : 979 confirmed COVID-19 cases in India, 106 new cases, 6 new deaths.

  • Maharashtra was the worst hit state, followed by Kerala and Karnataka
  • 87 coronavirus patients have been cured/discharged across the countr

Here is state-wise tally of total coronavirus cases in the country:

  • Andhra Pradesh 14
  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands – 9
  • Bihar – 9
  • Chandigarh – 8
  • Chhattisgarh – 6
  • Delhi – 39 ( including 1 foreign national)
  • Goa – 3 ( including 1 foreign national)
  • Gujarat – 53 ( including 1 foreign national)
  • Haryana – 33 ( including 14 foreign nationals)
  • Himachal Pradesh – 3
  • Jammu and Kashmir – 31
  • Karnataka – 76
  • Kerala – 182 ( including 8 foreign nationals)
  • Ladakh – 13
  • Madhya Pradesh – 30
  • Maharashtra – 186 ( including 3 foreign nationals)
  • Manipur – 1
  • Mizoram – 1
  • Odisha – 3
  • Puducherry – 1
  • Punjab – 38
  • Rajasthan – 54 ( including 2 foreign nationals)
  • Tamil Nadu – 42 ( including 6 foreign nationals)
  • Telengana – 66 ( including 10 foreign nationals)
  • Uttarakhand – 6 ( including 1 foreign national)
  • Uttar Pradesh – 55 ( including 1 foreign national)
  • West Bengal – 17

While 319 of the positive cases were Indian, 41 are foreigners, the Health Ministry said in the 6.30 p.m. update.

“A total of 24 patients have been cured and discharged. Seven deaths have been reported across the country,” the Health Ministry said.

Among the 23 states and union territories where the cases were found, Maharashtra has the highest patient count followed by Kerala.

The number of cases across the country has been increasing on a drastic speed.

While Bihar, Punjab, Delhi, Gujarat, and Karnataka have reported one each coronavirus related deaths, Maharashtra has reported two deaths as of now.

A total of 75 districts across the country have been put under lockdown, with only essential services allowed.

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Rahul expresses Congress’s solidarity with govt in COVID-19 fight

Rahul said the sudden lockdown, announced by the government, created panic and confusion, and closure of factories, small industries and construction had rendered tens of thousands of migrants jobless forcing them to return to their villages.

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New Delhi, March 29 : Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Sunday expressed his party’s solidarity with the government in the time of crisis and also suggested measures to overcome the panic and insulate the economy.

“The number of poor, who are daily wagers, is simply too large to shut down all economic activities. The consequences of economic shutdown will only add the Covid-19 toll,” said the former Congress chief. The shutdown could cause “catastrophic” loss of life, he added.

He urged the government to consider a nuanced approach, taking the complex realities of the country into consideration, prioritise protection of the elderly and the vulnerable, and communicate clearly to the young about the dangers.

Rushing of millions of people to their villages due to lockdown in cities would increase the risk of spread of coronavirus infection to their folk back home, he said. “This will lead to catastrophic loss of life,” Gandhi said.

“We must strengthen the social safety net and use every public resources to support and shelter the working poor,” he said.

The Congress leader also called for setting up of dedicated hospitals with thousands of beds and ventilators, and intensifying coronavirus tests to get an accurate picture of the spread of infection and to formulate suitable measures to contain it.

Rahul said the sudden lockdown, announced by the government, created panic and confusion, and closure of factories, small industries and construction had rendered tens of thousands of migrants jobless forcing them to return to their villages.

He urged the Prime Minister to help them find shelter and provide money directly into their bank accounts to let them tide over the crisis.

Expressing his and millions of Congress workers’ solidarity with the government in this immense humanitarian crisis, Gandhi suspected that the government might extend the lockdown.

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