Raipur, August 19, 2008: Chhattisgarh became the first state in the country to offer the lowest ever rate of interest to the farmers for agriculture loan, lesser than even what the BJP national body had announced.
Looking into the 80 per cent population dependant on agriculture and majority of them medium and small farmers in Chhattisgarh, the interest rate was reduced from 14 per cent immediately after Dr Raman Singh became Chief Minister on December 7, 2003.
The farmers of the state were never benefited from any economic revolutions in the last several decades, but their fortune was changed after the state reduced the agriculture loan from 14 per cent to six per cent after coming to power in 2003, Singh said
And now that would be further reduced to three per cent rate of interest, the Chief Minister said adding with that rate of interest Rs 800 crore would be disbursed as loan to farmers to strengthen their condition.
This three per cent will be the lowest ever rate of interest offered by any state in the country, forget about Chhattisgarh alone, Singh said adding his government was committed to the cause of farmers and poors, who constitutes about 90 per cent of the total population of the state.
The bonanza was not confined to the farmers alone, as the Chief Minister also announced on the Independence Day that the handicapped would also be provided ten kg rice with Rs 3 per kg every month under the Chief Minister Food Security Programme which would be in addition to the over 36 lakh poor families, who are provided 35 kg rice with the same highly subsidized rate of Rs 3 per kg.
In the last five years his government had given top most priority to village, poors, farmers, SC and ST, women and weaker sections of people, and compared the tenure of his government with that of Ajit Jogi government, from 2000 to 2003 the Congress government had purchased 39 lakh tonnes of paddy worth Rs 2000 crore where as in the last four years a record 160 lakh tonnes of paddy were purchased straight from the farmers paying them a whopping Rs 7,600 crore, Singh said.
Other than a mere 478 habitats, in the rest 72,297 habitats of the state safe drinking water was being provided by the state and steps have already been taken to achieve cent per cent success in that scheme, he said.
No state can grow with out liberation from load shedding, the Chief Minister said adding to achieve success in that direction an extra 500 MW power started producing by the State Electricity Board and steps had been taken for adding another 7000 MW powers.
Besides that, an additional 42,000 MW units of power was to be produced by the private producers with an investment of one lakh seventy thousand crore rupees, for which works had been started, Singh said.
Chhattisgarh has also taken steps to provide 2.5 lakh families the revenue records for the forest lands they have acquired long back, Singh said.
Over 36 lakh tendu leave pluckers had been provided free shoes by the state government to save them from sustaining injuries while entering the woods for plucking, the Chief Minister said adding steps had also taken to give more profit to the collectors of minor forest produces of the state.
For providing better education in the last two years 65,000 teachers were recruited in the state and in the current year also an equal number of 65,000 teachers would be recruited by the state, he said.
In an attempt to give empowerment to women, his government had made 50 per cent reservation for women in Panchayats, the Chief Minister said.
When 20,000 new posts had been created in police forces taking the total strength to 46,000, the honorarium of the Special Police Officers, who are fighting against the naxalites, had been increased to Rs 2150 from Rs 1500 per month, he said.
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