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Now, call centres for farmers

December 26, 2003 17:19 IST

The central government will launch Kisan call centres and a Jaikisan television channel next month in an effort to enhance knowledge delivery mechanism directed at the farmers, Union Agriculture Minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday.

He said in Bangalore that the state-wise call centres, which would operate round-the-clock through toll free line, would address questions of farmers regarding agriculture and allied sectors.

Singh said the Jaikisan channel would also deliver local-specific agriculture and allied sectors' knowledge and information. Initially, the channel would be started with an hour-long programme using the infrastructure of Doordarshan.

Both the initiatives would be unveiled before next month-end. "The government realises that the knowledge and information needs of farmers is very high."

Noting that the government had announced that interest rate on agricultural credit for crop loans should not exceed 9 per cent, Singh said the State Bank of India had taken a decision to offer such credit at 8.5 per cent.

A 'revolutionary' insurance scheme, which would provide support to the farmers for loss in income from adverse incidence of crop yield as well as market price fluctuations, had been launched on a pilot basis in 18 districts in 13 states for wheat and rice during Rabi 2003-04 season.

He earlier inaugurated the office-building of Central Institute of Coastal Engineering for Fishery in Bangalore.

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