Hariyali Ganga: A boon for the farmers of India
Everybody knows that the government is spending lots of money through its Agriculture & Rural Development Ministry in the name of villagers and farmers of the country. But it is perturbing to note that hardly 10-15 per cent of the sanctioned amount reaches to them. They get the subsidy amount 40-50 per cent only, sanctioned on the different schemes and projects. Generally seeds, fertilizers and other agriculture equipments are being sold in the market in spite of distributing those among the villagers and farmers.
As regards financial institutions, they are conducting the different schemes for the welfare of farmers and villagers but the fact is that very few people are benefitted through these schemes, as most of the villagers have no reach to these institutions. Keeping in view all these facts, figures and problems, a big financial institution of the country— State Bank Of India—initiated a movement in 2007 to make a direct reach to the farmers and villagers.
This movement now renamed as Hariyali Ganga was initiated by Central Board Director, Dr DN Balodhi from Uttarakhand. He organised farmers’ training and credit programme in each and every district of this newly born state involving the scientists of Agriculture University, Pantnagar.
Accordingly, 250-350 farmers were collected by the different branches of the bank from the different areas and then they were educated at a camp by the agriculture scientists such as Prof PC Pandey and Prof Arvind Shukla about the new techniques of farming in detail. The bank officers briefed them about the schemes of the bank and told them that now they could get crop loan at a minimum rate of interest i.e. 5-6 per cent. They were encouraged to grow vegetables in their kitchen garden to avoid the genetic vegetables which are being produced by the professional vegetable-growers and are being sold in the market. The bank distributes vegetable seeds, fruit plants and the literature free of cost to the farmers who attend the programme. Besides this, selected progressive farmers are also encouraged by giving awards to them for excellent work in a particular field.
Over all, it can be said that this programme got much popularity and publicity in the areas concerned as the State Bank Of India made an excellent effort to reach to the doorsteps of the farmers with “lakshmi” and “Saraswati” together. Lakshmi is the bank and Saraswati are the agriculture experts and scientists,who are educating them to improve the quality of land and the method of farming through new techniques. They tell them the methods of marketing also.
Since the movement earned a good name and fame in Uttarakhand, it was decided to continue the Hariyali Ganga programme and to launch this in all the states, all over the country, keeping the following points in the mind:
- To keep a check on the global warming and to control the environmental changes. If we generate greenery in the villages through rich and scientific methods, it is very much feasible.
- To improve the financial position of the farmers.
- To keep a check on the migration problem of the people of rural areas to cities and to generate the employment in rural areas. If the agro or eco-based industries are prompted in the rural areas and opportunities are provided to the unemployed youth, it is very much possible.
- To promote the economy of villages and to enrich our food stocks at large.
- To control the ground water level through greenery and through rainwater harvesting system.
Till now Hariyali Ganga programmes have been launched in UP, MP, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, J&K, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Goa, Nagaland, Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
By From Our Correspondent