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‘GM crops will be put on the back burner’

 Irrigation project a la Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana soon In a reversal of the UPA regime policy, genetically modified crops will not be a priority for the new government, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said here on Wednesday. “Only if absolutely necessary can genetically modified crops be looked at,” said the 64-year-old Cabinet Minister after taking charge of his Ministry.

 

The UPA government had promoted GM crops as a panacea for food scarcity. Expressing concern at the possibility of a deficient monsoon, he said the Centre had advised States to set aside 10 per cent of their share of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana funds as a cover. The Ministry had written to them, asking them to be prepared with contingency plans and be ready with seeds of short-duration and late-sown crops. The Centre would soon launch a Prime Minister’s Rural Irrigation Project on the lines of the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana started during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure.

 

The project would seek to complete unfinished water projects so that small and marginal farmers were benefited. The four-time MP from Bihar expressed confidence that the new government would keep a tight check on the prices of essential commodities and also ensure that farmers got a good price for their produce. The Agriculture Marketing Produce Act would be reviewed. New MSP likely He said a Farmers Income Insurance Scheme would be launched to ensure returns on investment during a calamity. At the same time, from the next kharif onwards, the government might give farmers a minimum support price — about 50 per cent higher than the input cost — for their crop.

 

 Hindu, Delhi, Thursday 29th May 2014