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PM Modi inaugurates Sikkim Organic Festival 2016
PM addresses Plenary Session of National Conference on Sustainable Agriculture & Farmers Welfare in Gangtok
PM Modi digitally launches the logo of "Sikkim Organic" & three new Orchid species
PM Modi pays homage to former Governor of Sikkim, Shri Rama Rao
PM Modi describes Sikkim as an example of resolve despite difficulties and struggle, towards organic agriculture
PM Modi complements Gangtok for being rated as 10th cleanest city in a survey conducted by the Government of India
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana: Scheme has instilled confidence among farmers, says PM

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today inaugurated the Sikkim Organic Festival 2016, and addressed the Plenary Session of the National Conference on Sustainable Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, at Gangtok in Sikkim.

Five presentations on reports of different groups of State Agriculture Ministers, Agriculture Production Commissioners and Agriculture Secretaries were made to the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister digitally launched the logo of “Sikkim Organic.” He launched three new Orchid species developed in Sikkim.

The Prime Minister handed over to the Chief Minister of Sikkim, Shri Pawan Chamling, two commendations for its journey towards total organic farming. He also handed over commendations for two districts of Sikkim for achieving 100 percent coverage of soil health cards.

In his address, the Prime Minister paid homage to former Governor of Sikkim, Shri Rama Rao.

He praised Sikkim Chief Minister Shri Pawan Chamling for his vision of welfare for farmers and tribes. He credited this vision for the development that the State is witnessing. He said the welfare and development issues raised by the Chief Minister would be looked into by the Union Government.

The Prime Minister said he is in Sikkim as the guest of the farmers of the State. He said the deliberations during the Conference had set the tone for a new holistic vision for the country's agriculture. He said all States could pick up the relevant parts from the presentations, which he said, should be remembered as “Sikkim Declaration.”

The Prime Minister described Sikkim as an example of resolve despite difficulties and struggle, towards organic agriculture. He sad today the whole world had recognised this effort of the farmers of Sikkim. He said the winds of this organic effort would now spread across the country.

The Prime Minister recalled the recent CoP-21 meeting in Paris, where the idea of “back to basics” had been raised forcefully. He said Sikkim has already achieved that feat of living in harmony with nature, and is therefore a model of development which also protects nature.

The Prime Minister complimented Sikkim for Gangtok being rated as the 10th cleanest city in a survey conducted by the Government of India.

The Prime Minister exhorted States to identify a district, or even a block, to convert to a 100 percent organic area. This he said, would catalyse the process in other parts of the State.

Referring to the recently announced crop insurance scheme, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, the Prime Minister said the scheme had instilled confidence among farmers, and efforts should be made to increase coverage of insurance.

The Prime Minister said farmers have to be motivated for schemes such as soil health card. He said a network of soil laboratories should come up across the country, and even school labs could be used during summer holiday months for this purpose.

The Prime Minister said there was need for special products such as Kisan Mobile Phone, which catered to the special needs and requirements of farmers. He said perhaps Start-ups could take a lead in this direction.

He reiterated his suggestion for a small amount of fruit juice to be mixed with aerated drinks. He said organic exports would receive a huge boost with the building of an airport in Sikkim. He said the vision behind rural roads was also to connect agricultural produce with markets. He said tree plantation and animal husbandry should also become an integral part of farming activities.

The Prime Minister suggested that a digital online platform of progressive farmers should be developed in each State.

Click here to read full text speech

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Package for Promotion of Digital and Cashless Economy
December 08, 2016
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Govt introduces a package of incentives for promotion of digital and cashless economy
0.75% discount on purchase of petrol/diesel through digital means
Deployment of 2 POS devices each in 1 Lakh villages with population of less than 10,000
Discount upto 0.5% for monthly or seasonal tickets from January 1, 2017, if payment is made digitally
All railway passengers buying online ticket shall be given free accidental insurance cover of upto Rs. 10 lakh

In the aftermath of the cancellation of the legal tender character of old Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes, there has been a surge in the digital transactions through use of credit/debit cards and mobile phone applications/e-wallets etc. To further accelerate this process, the Central Government has decided on a package of incentives and measures for promotion of digital and cashless economy in the country. 

These incentives/measures are following: 

  1. The Central Government Petroleum PSUs shall give incentive by offering a discount at the rate of 0.75% of the sale price to consumers on purchase of petrol/diesel if payment is made through digital means.

Nearly 4.5 crore customers buy petrol or diesel at such petrol pumps per day who can take benefit of this incentive scheme.  It is estimated that petrol/diesel worth Rs.1800 crore is sold per day to the customers out of which nearly 20% was being paid through digital means.  In the month of November 2016 it has increased to 40% and the cash transaction of Rs.360 crore per day have got shifted to cashless transaction methods.  The incentive scheme has the potential of shifting at least 30% more customer to digital means which will further reduce the cash requirement of nearly Rs. 2 lakh crore per year at the petrol pumps.

  1. To expand digital payment infrastructure in rural areas, the Central Government through NABARD will extend financial support to eligible banks for deployment of 2 POS devices each in 1 Lakh villages with population of less than 10,000.  These POS machines are intended to be deployed at primary cooperative societies/milk societies/agricultural input dealers to facilitate agri-related transactions through digital means.

This will benefit farmers of one lakh village covering a total population of nearly 75 crore who will have facility to transact cashlessly in their villages for their agri needs. 

  1. The Central Government through NABARD will also support Rural Regional Banks and Cooperative Banks to issue “Rupay Kisan Cards” to 4.32 crore Kisan Credit Card holders to enable them to make digital transactions at POS machines/Micro ATMs/ATMs.
  1. Railway through its sub urban railway network shall provide incentive by way of discount upto 0.5% to customers for monthly or seasonal tickets from January 1, 2017, if payment is made through digital means.

Nearly 80 lakh passengers use seasonal or monthly ticket on suburban railways, largely in cash, spending worth nearly Rs.2,000 crore per year.  As more and more passengers will shift to digital means the cash requirement may get reduced by Rs.1,000 crore per year in near future.

  1. All railway passengers buying online ticket shall be given free accidental insurance cover of upto Rs. 10 lakh.

Nearly 14 lakh railway passengers are buying tickets everyday out of which 58% tickets are bought online through digital means.  It is expected that another 20% passengers may shift to digital payment methods of buying railway tickets.  Hence nearly 11 lakh passengers per day will be covered under the accidental insurance scheme.

  1. For paid services e.g. catering, accommodation, retiring rooms etc. being offered by railways through its affiliated entities/corporations to the passengers, it will provide a discount of 5% for payment of these services through digital means.

All the passengers travelling on railways availing these services may avail the benefit.

  1. Public sector insurance companies will provide incentive, by way of discount or credit, upto 10% of the premium in general insurance policies and 8% in new life policies of Life Insurance Corporation sold through the customer portals, in case payment is made through digital means.
  1. The Central Government Departments and Central Public Sector Undertakings will ensure that transactions fee/MDR charges associated with payment through digital means shall not be passed on to the consumers and all such expenses shall be borne by them.  State Governments are being advised that the State Governments and its organizations should also consider to absorb the transaction fee/MDR charges related to digital payment to them and consumer should not be asked to bear it.
  1. Public sector banks are advised that merchant should not be required to pay more than Rs. 100 per month as monthly rental for PoS terminals/Micro ATMs/mobile POS from the merchants to bring small merchant on board the digital payment eco system.

Nearly 6.5 lakh machines by Public Sector Banks have been issued to merchants who will be benefitted by the lower rentals and promote digital transactions.  With lower rentals, more merchants will install such machines and promote digital transactions. 

  1. No service tax will be charged on digital transaction charges/MDR for transactions upto Rs.2000 per transaction.
  1. For the payment of toll at Toll Plazas on National Highways using RFID card/Fast Tags, a discount of 10% will be available to users in the year 2016-17.