In a major step aimed at conserving scarce natural resources like underground water through Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR) technology, the Punjab Cabinet led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday approved Rs. 1500 per acre incentive to the farmers for sowing of paddy through this innovative technology. A sum of Rs.450 crore has been earmarked to provide incentive to the farmers for promotion of less water consuming and cost effective DSR technology.
This step would be instrumental to save nearly about 15-20 percent water as compared to the conventional puddling (kaddu) method during the life cycle of crops.Pertinently, the alarming situation arisen out of fast depleting ground water mainly due to water guzzling traditional method of paddy transplantation needs bold measures to check this serious trend instantly. Currently the water table is falling at rate of 86 cm per year leading to a precarious situation, where no underground water will be available across the state in coming 15-20 years.
According to a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office, it will encourage majority of farmers to adopt this proven technique which needs far less water for irrigation, improves percolation, reduces dependence on farm labour and improves soil health, thus enhancing yield of both paddy and wheat by 5-10 percent.In order to incentivize the farmers going for DSR, the Cabinet also decided to pay the financial assistance worth Rs 1500 per acre to the farmers through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for which Anaj Kharid Portal of Punjab Mandi Board has already database of approximately 11 lakh farmers linked with their Aadhaar details, mobile number and bank account details.
Likewise, the farmers opting for DSR will have to register their willingness on a portal which will be developed in-house by a team of software developers of Mandi Board. It will utilize farmers' database from Anaj Kharid Portal and the officials will conduct on the ground verification of farmers who opt for DSR. At present, there are approximately 4000 officers/officials of various departments including Agriculture, Horticulture, Mandi Board and Water & Soil Conservation who will be put on duty for verification.
After the verification, the incentive amount will be credited to farmers’ accounts through DBT.As per available data, last year the farmers had done DSR over 15 lakh acres area and with the present availability of implements, it can be increased to 30 lakh acres or even more.