Government has granted relaxation in the nationwide lockdown for activities related to agriculture-farming and allied activities with a view to address problems being faced by the farming community. This will also ensure uninterrupted harvesting of crops. In this regard the Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar has expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and the Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah.
Shri Tomar has been constantly monitoring issues related to the farmers ever since the lockdown was enforced. He was apprised of the difficulties the farmers could face in the harvesting of their crops and transporting foodgrains to the mandis. Keeping in view the demands of farmers and concerned organisations and at the directions of the Prime Minister, the Union Government urgently considered and sympathetically examined the issue, following which a practical solution was arrived at in the interest of farmers and related communities.
The Union Home Ministry has issued second Addendum to the Guidelines related to the nationwide lockdown issued vide its Order No.40-3/2020-DM-I(A) dated 24th & 25th March, 2020 in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 10(2)(I) of the Disaster Management Act with the Chairperson, National Executive Committee. Under this Addendum, activities related to Agriculture and related products, services and such other activities have been brought under the exception categories from the 21 day lockdown. This will also allow unhindered harvesting of crops. The Agriculture Minister has complimented the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister for the exception granted to agriculture and allied activities.
Under the 2nd Addendum issued by the Union Home Ministry the following categories have been exempted from the lockdown:
- Agencies engaged in procurement of agriculture products, including MSP operations;
- ‘Mandis’ operated by the Agriculture Produce Market Committee or as notified by the State Government;
- Farming operations by farmers and farm workers in the field;
- ‘Custom Hiring Centres (CHC)’ related to farm machinery;
- Manufacturing and packaging units of fertilisers, pesticides and seed; &
- Intra and Inter-State movement of harvesting and sowing related machines like combined harvester and other agriculture/horticulture implements
This decision has been taken with a view to facilitate unhindered activities related to agriculture and farming so as to ensure essential supplies to the common man and that the farmers and common people do not face any difficulty during the lockdown. Government of India has issued necessary directions to the concerned Ministries/Departments and designated officials of the States and UTs.