The Centre on Thursday has left for the States to decide when to start the procurement process of pulses and oilseeds amid raging speculation of a likely extension of the 21-day lockdown. According to reports, this was decided after Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar held a video conference with the agricultural ministers all states and Union Territories in the country to discuss issues related to farmers that arose due to the lockdown. Reportedly, the procurement will continue for 90 days.
As per reports, the Centre will be giving 50 per cent of the cost for the perishable agriculture and horticulture crops, however, it will bear 75 per cent of the cost for the north-eastern states. Meanwhile, the Centre has also issued an advisory for all the states and UTs to facilitate direct marketing in order to enable direct purchase from the farmers, FPOs, big retailers under the State-APMC Act. Further, around 7.92 crore families of the farmers have been benefitted under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme since the lockdown has been imposed due to the Coronavirus crisis.
Reportedly, the Centre has also added a logistics module in the e-NAM app in order to make it farmer and trader friendly. The e-NAM app is an online trading platform for agricultural commodities across the country. As per reports, it facilitates farmers, traders and buyers of the agricultural products.
In a bid to tackle the growing crisis, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 had announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown to check the spread of deadly coronavirus, stating that "social distancing" is the only way to contain the disease which is spreading rapidly across the world.
According to the latest update of the Health Ministry, about 5,865 cases of COVID-19 infection have been reported in the country including 5,218 active cases. While 169 deaths have been reported overall, around 478 people have been cured. Currently, the highest number of cases have been reported from Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.