Gandhinagar: Chief Minister Mr. Vijay Rupani has announced for the formation of ‘Mukhyamantri Bagayat Vikas Mission’ (Horticulture Development Mission) in the presence of Minister of Agriculture Mr. R.C Faldu and Minister of State Mr. Jaydrathsinhji Parmar.
The aim is to accelerate agriculture, horticulture and promote farming of herbal plants. It will also create employment opportunities through an increase in the export of such products.
While announcing the formation of Horticulture Development Mission, the Chief Minister said, “Agriculture development has not attained its peak due to arid, semi-arid and saline patches of land in the state.
Despite such topographical challenges, the state government has successfully organised Krishi Mahotsav, provided Soil Health Cards, initiated Sujalam Sufalam Abhiyan, implemented drip irrigation, started 7 Steps of Farmer Welfare, Kisan Suryoday Yojana etc thereby making Gujarat a leader in agriculture development and farmer prosperity.”
Out of 196 lakh hectares of land in Gujarat, 50% i.e 98 lakh hectares of land is being utilised for farming. There is tremendous scope for horticulture development and farming medicinal crops in fallow and unfertile lands. The state has contributed 9.20% to India’s fruit and vegetable production in 2019-20. 4.46 lakh hectares of land was utilised for sowing fruits with a total production of 92.61 lakh metric ton.
There has been an increase of 20 thousand hectares of cultivable land in the state. Regions of North Gujarat and Kutch have emerged as a hub for cultivating pomegranate, guava, dates, papaya etc.
The Chief Minister stressed on the fact that arid, unfertile and fallow patches of land have been successfully converted into cultivable areas in Kutch, Banaskantha, Patan, Sabarkantha and Surendranagar through various irrigation schemes introduced by the state government in addition to using modern tools, equipments and methods for cultivation.
The state government has initiated the ‘Mukhyamantri Bagayat Vikas Mission’ with an aim to double the income of farmers and generate employment through horticulture in unfertile and fallow lands owned by the government.
The first phase will include five districts namely Kutch, Surendrangar, Patan, Banaskantha and Sabarkantha.
Around 20 thousand hectares of land will be provided on a 30-year lease in areas and survey numbers fixed by the government, to cultivate medicinal plants and horticulture crops.
Details of ‘Mukhyamantri Bagayat Vikas Mission’ w.r.t choice of land, assistance, lease terms etc are as under:
– Unfertile lands will now be allotted to able farmers, organizations, individuals or partnership firms for cultivation under this mission.
– The area of land per project will range from 125 acres to 1000 acres (50 hectares to 400 hectares). A total area of nearly 50 thousand acres will be provided on a 30-year lease.
– A district level committee headed by the District Collector will identify and allocate lands after a careful examination through survey numbers of unfertile and fallow lands in 5 districts selected by the state government in Phase-1 of this mission.
– After consulting the Revenue Department, the list of land will be uploaded on the i-Khedut portal of the Department of Agriculture, Farmers’ Welfare and Co-operation.
– The applicant will be required to register and apply through the i-Khedut portal and also provide the necessary blueprint of land use for horticulture/ cultivation of medicinal plants in the area selected by him/her.
– A state level technical committee will examine the application and send their recommendations to a High-power committee.
– The High-power committee headed by the Chief Minister will further examine and cross-check the details and then approve the application.
– The lease period will not exceed beyond 30 years. The administration might contemplate for extending the lease, after the end of a 30-year tenure, with the mutual consent of the lease holder and the government.
– The applicant can return the land to the government before expiration of the lease period.
– However, the applicant cannot demand any kind of remuneration from the government and will not be entitled for the same, incase he/she wants to return the land before the expiration of the lease period.
– The government has kept a nominal lease rate and security deposit. The government will exempt the applicant from rent for the first 5 years.
– Rent for the subsequent years will be: from 6th to 1oth year: Rs.100/acre per annum; 11th to 20th year: Rs.250/acre per annum and 21st to 30th year: a basic rent of Rs.500/acre per annum.
– One-time charges, in the form of security deposit, at the rate of Rs.2500 per acre will have to be paid by the applicant when he/she is allotted the land. In addition to that, he/she will be required to develop the land as mentioned in the proposal within 5 years.
– The state government will provide a one-time subsidy of 70%, as per the norms and rates of Gujarat Green Revolution Company Ltd. (GGRC) for drip irrigation or sprinklers.
– The lessee will be provided a power connection for agriculture on a priority basis. Rates and rules for the same will be applicable as per that of the agricultural connection.
– One-time assistance of 25% of the total cost on solar panels (excluding motor and pump-set) will be provided based on the decided rates to the lessee in case there is no possibility to install an electricity connection. This assistance will be on a pro-rata basis for bigger lands.
– The lessee can install solar panel/wind mill only for personal use. He/she cannot sell additional power supply from the same.
– The lessee will be exempted from conversion tax on the leased land.
– Non-farming entities will not be given the status of farmers.
– The land cannot be sub-leased or used for any other purposes. The person allotted the land shall use it for horticulture or cultivating medicinal plants only.
– The leased land will be considered to be ‘Deemed N.A’ for horticulture and its related activities. However, necessary permissions will be required from a competent authority/officer and the concerned Collector will need to be informed about the same. Such lands will be subject to assessment under Non-agricultural and other taxes.
– The government can open a kuchcha approach road for a dedicated route to the leased land. However, an application will need to be filed to a competent authority after getting an approval from District Level Committee.
– The government will form a 7-member land selection committee headed by the concerned District Collector.
– Block and survey numbers of ‘Unfertile and Fallow government land’shall be identified and cross checked by this committee to ensure that they are not being used for any other purposes or do not encroach other areas.The committee will then send this list to the Department of Agriculture, Farmers’ Welfare and Co-operation to be announced for allocation.
– A 7-member technical committee headed by the Secretary of Agriculture will do a scrutiny of the applications.
– After this, a 9-member High-Power Committee headed by the Chief Minister will take a final decision on allocating lands based on the recommendations and suggestions of the Technical Committee headed by the Secretary of Agriculture. This High-Power Committee will comprise of Deputy Chief Minister, Agriculture and Revenue Ministers, MOS for Agriculture, Chief Secretary and ACS of Revenue and Finance Department. The Secretary of Agriculture will act as the Member Secretary of this committee.
– Director of Horticulture will be the nodal officer for policy on allocating land on long-term lease for horticulture and cultivation of medicinal plants.