Lockdown: Government launches call centres to assist agri-traders

Agriculture COVID-19 National
Experts think this step will encourage farmers and traders  as it will bring down the prices of perishables

By Arghyadeep Dutta

April 16, 2020

The Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar, on April 15,  launched the All India Agri Transport 24×7 toll-free call centre numbers 1800-180-4200 and 14488 to facilitate the interstate movement of perishables during the lockdown. The call centre executives will forward the vehicle and consignment details along with the help needed, to State Government officials for resolution of issues. If any truck driver or other stakeholders related to agriculture face problems in inter-state movement they can contact this toll-free number.

Later that day, M Venkaiah Naidu, the Vice President of India, asked the Centre and State Governments to facilitate the smooth conduct of farming activities and safeguard the interests of both producers and consumers. “Producers in agriculture are not organised, and often their views go unheard. So, it is the duty of the governments to protect their interests,” Naidu said, “Though it is mainly the duty of the States, the Center should guide and help them from time to time in this regard,” he added.    

The Indian Railways also introduced 67 routes for running 236 Parcel Specials to supply essential commodities including perishable horticultural produce, agricultural inputs such as seed, fertiliser and pesticides, milk, and dairy products to assist farmers, traders, and companies for continuity of supply chain across the country. “In an agrarian economy like India, these steps are much needed and should be taken earlier to protect the interest of farmers, during the lockdown. Earlier, there were hindrances in transporting agricultural goods. This step can facilitate and encourage farmers and traders to transport inter-state freely, which will bring down the prices of perishables back to normal, relieving the common man,” said Malabika Roy, professor of economics, Jadavpur University.

The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation, and Farmer Welfare also released statistics showing that around Rs. 2000 has been credited to about 8.46 crore small and marginal farmers, for income support under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme (PM-KISAN) during the lockdown period from March 24. Insurance claims amounting to Rs. 2424 crores have also been paid out to the beneficiary farmers in 12 states under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY).


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