• World Bank aid for Haryana forests

    The Haryana Minister for Forests, Tourism and Environment, Kiran Choudhry, said on Saturday that the World Bank and the Japan Bank of International Cooperation would provide financial assistance to Haryana worth about Rs.380 crore for different forest-related projects. Addressing a press conference here, Ms. Choudhry said a World Bank team would visit the State on March 10 for finalisation of a grant of Rs.230 crore. Team coming And a team of the Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) would be visiting Haryana shortly for a re-appraisal of the ongoing projects of forestation and poverty alleviation in 800 villages. She expressed hope that a grant of Rs.150 crore would be forthcoming from the Bank. About 500 officials of the Haryana Forests Department would be able to continue their jobs after this re-appraisal, she added. She disclosed that she had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requesting him to notify the natural and reserved forest areas of the State as eco-zones.

  • Haryana spends 175 cr. on BPL families

    6,630 houses constructed for homeless families The Haryana Rural Development Department has spent Rs.175.14 crore so far for the welfare of Below Poverty line (BPL) families and creation of community assets and infrastructure in the villages, Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary (Rural Development) Urvashi Gulati said on Saturday. In a video-conference with the Additional Deputy Commissioners of the districts, she directed them to ensure full use of the funds and to achieve the set targets. She disclosed that 6,630 houses had been constructed for homeless families while 801 houses were under construction under the Indira Awaas Yojna. Income generating assets had been provided to 9,746 BPL families to ensure self-employment. To implement the Haryana Government's decision to provide 100 square yard plots to all eligible families, all the Deputy Commissioners had issued directions to identify the land by this coming March 15 and to invite applications for allotment by March 31. Ms. Gulati said 1,237 development works had been undertaken to achieve soil conservation, land development and plantation under the Watershed Development Programme. Reviewing rural development schemes with the Additional Deputy Commissioners, she advised them to claim additional funds from the Central Government under Central Sector schemes.

  • Waiver not enough

    Raise farm productivity THE Rs 60,000-crore agricultural loan waiver and one-time settlement announced in the budget for 2008-09, welcome as it is, will not be enough to mitigate distress among farmers. According to the C. Rangarajan Committee, only 27 per cent of the farm households take loans from formal sources. Most others borrow from private moneylenders, who charge heavy interest rates and also force the borrowers to sell their crops to or through them at lower-than-market prices. Haryana has passed the Rural Indebtedness Act to check exploitation of small farmers by moneylenders. Punjab only toyed with the idea and then dropped it. Debt is only one part of the problem that has got highlighted due to suicides by farmers. Irrigation is another. There are farmers, particularly in arid and other areas where irrigation facilities are absent or inadequate, who own more than two hectares but are poor because of low productivity or frequent crop failures. They will not benefit from the loan waiver. Though the budget provides more funds for irrigation, it is the states that have to take steps to conserve water resources and meet the irrigation needs of farmers. Farm productivity in India is below global standards. There is need to use biotechnology to improve the quality of seeds as has been done in the case of cotton and strengthen extension services to provide expert advice to farmers on what to grow and how. If farmers are to be rescued from relapsing into a debt trap and agriculture has to be made remunerative, the practice of artificially suppressing farm prices will have to be given up. While the government must ensure payment of the minimum support prices, if global prices are higher the growers must not be denied the added benefit. Last year the government paid much more for imported wheat than what was paid to local farmers. The government burden can be contained if the food, power and fertiliser subsidies are limited to the needy. The M.S. Swaminathan panel has laid the road map for rejuvenating agriculture and this merits closer attention.

  • Osram to distribute cheaper CFLs in three states

    For promoting usage of energy saving compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) in the country, leading lamp manufacturer Osram will distribute more than 2 million CFL units to poor families in Mahrashtra, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh. A unit of CFL will cost around Rs 10- 15 while actual cost of the unit is around Rs 300. Osram has already carried out the ground works for the project, which is expected launched over the next few weeks. "We have signed MoUs with respective state electricity boards and the project would be financed through carbon credit generated through the clean development mechanism (CDM) under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC),' Gagan Mehra, managing director of Osram India told FE. However the company is yet to decide volume of carbon credit needed for the implementation of the project. Osram model for CDM is an arrangement under the Kyoto protocol for reducing CO2 emission in the lighting industry. The company in collaboration with state electricity boards will distribute special CFL bulbs with a longevity of 15 thousands hours amongst the poorer section of the population. "We have identified as present districts such as Visakhapatanam in Andhra Pradesh, Sonepat and Yamuna Nagar in Haryana and Pune in Maharashtra for distribution of CFL units and gradually the programme would include other districts in the state,' Mehra said. Osram would be importing most of the components of the CFLs to be distributed in the three states and it would be assembled at the Sonepat plant of the company. "As the project would be in operation for seven to 10 years in three states, after two years of implementation, we plan to manufacturer the CFLs at our plant,' Mehra said. Mehra admitting that despite the low energy consumption by CFLs, the disposal of these bulbs has been a key issue. "All the manufacturers of CFLs are working out a strategy for proper disposals of these bulbs with the Electricity Lamp and Components Manufacturers Association of India (ELCOMA),' he said.

  • Prime Minister urged to resolve water dispute

    Terming "ridiculous' the assurance of the Delhi Government vis-

  • A surplus Budget for Haryana

    Fourth budget: Haryana Finance Minister Birendra Singh presenting the budget in the State Assembly in Chandigarh on Tuesday as Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and others look on.

  • Haryana makes a mark with its business sense

    That Haryana presented a cash surplus Budget of Rs 1,400 crore on Tuesday should not come as a surprise. Because this Jat land means business and reaps rich dividends in all its enterprises.

  • Sonia offers SEZ-hit farmers a new deal

    With the precision of a director's cut, Mrs Gandhi has swung her attention to farmers whose lands have been acquired by the government or private companies for big-ticket infrastructure projects suc

  • A few good acres

    Acquisition rates have to be responsive to give armers a good information environment

  • At present growth rate, Haryana to wipe out poverty in six years: Finance Minister

    Haryana Finance Minister Birender Singh asserted in the Vidhan Sabha that if the rate of economic growth continues at the present level of 11.2 per cent and the 20 per cent increase in revenue receipt

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