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Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh on Wednesday postponed his forthcoming visit to China in view of the ongoing farmers' agitation across the country.
According to a statement issued by his office, the minister's visit for the BRICS summit in China has been postponed, as the Centre would like to provide all possible help to state governments in taking policy decisions to help farmers in view of the current situation.
India will be represented by the agriculture secretary in the BRICS summit.
In a related development, the government has extended interest subvention on short-term crop loans for timely repayment by another one year.
This enables farmers to get loans at a subsidised rate of four per cent if they make timely repayment.
Short-term crop loans of up to Rs 3 lakh will continue to be made available to the farmers paying promptly, at an interest rate of 4 per cent interest only, the official said.
As an interim measure, the Reserve Bank had last month asked banks to continue giving the discount on interest on short-term crop loans during the current fiscal.
The Cabinet decision to continue the interest subvention comes at a time when there are farmers protest demanding farm loan waiver in several parts of the country, more particularly in Madhya Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra have already announced such waiver.
Under the scheme, a subvention of 2 per cent per annum is provided for short-term crop loan of up to Rs 3,00,000 per farmer, provided the lending institutions make available short-term credit at the ground level at 7 per cent per annum to farmers.
An additional interest subvention of 3 per cent per annum is available to the "prompt payee farmers".
For 2017-18, the agriculture credit target has been raised to Rs 10 lakh crore, from Rs 9 lakh crore in 2016-17.
Elsewhere in Madhya Pradesh, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today visited Mandsaur, where five cultivators were killed during the farmers' stir, and handed over a cheque of Rs 1 crore to the family of one of them.
The state government had, on Tuesday, sanctioned financial aid of Rs 1 crore each to the families of the six farmers killed during the violent stir by peasants in Mandsaur.
The aid was sanctioned from the chief minister's discretionary fund and it would be given by the Mandsaur collector through e-payment facility.
On June 6, five farmers were killed as the agitation by peasants turned violent in Mandsaur.
Besides, a 26-year-old farmer had died in Badwan village of Mandsaur district. Locals on June 9 had alleged that he was beaten up by policemen.
Chouhan along with his wife Sadhna reached Mandsaur in a special plane and went to Badwan village to meet the kin of farmer Ghanshyam Dhakad, who was killed in police firing.
The chief minister handed a cheque of Rs 1 crore as compensation to the kin of Dhakad, as promised.
He also assured the family members that strict action would be taken against those who shot dead the farmers.
Chouhan is also scheduled to visit Lodh, Nayakheda, Piplyamandi, Barkheda Panth and Budha villages to extend condolences to the kin of the other farmers killed in police firing.
Though the stir has ebbed away, three farmers have ended their lives in the state in the last 24 hours, taking the number of farmer suicides in the state in the past one week to five.