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Farmers will avail Rs 500 cr annually under FOCUS & FOCUS+: Conrad

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NONGSTOIN, Oct 18: Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Tuesday said that through FOCUS and FOCUS + programmes, farmers in Meghalaya will avail Rs 500 crore annually.
“Our farmers will get almost close to Rs 500 crore in their accounts every year and if you multiply this for 10 years, it will be Rs 5,000 crore. This money will revolve amongst our farmers, producer groups in the state, and they can decide on the best ways to use the funds,” the chief minister said while addressing a gathering at an event to celebrate the success of FOCUS programme in Nongstoin, West Khasi Hills.
During the event, while the beneficiaries of FOCUS programme were given cheques, the beneficiaries of FOCUS + were given the ‘FOCUS Card’.
It was also informed that the funds under FOCUS+ will be released in instalments to the beneficiaries.
Through FOCUS, a total of 1,957 beneficiaries in West Khasi Hills were sanctioned an amount of Rs 5,000 per household, amounting to Rs 62,85,000, out of which an amount of Rs 1,000 per household will be released as first instalment and the remaining 4,000 will be released as second instalment.
During the programme, the chief minister also handed over Community Investment Funds amounting to Rs 1.14 crore to support women self-help groups (SHGs) in 44 village organisations.
The financial assistance under YESS Meghalaya to youth organisations and piglets and chicks under ‘Progress’ scheme were also distributed during the programme.
Touching upon about the SHG movement and its impact on livelihood and income generation in Meghalaya, the chief minister said that in the last four years the SHG groups have increased from merely 4,500 in 2017-18 to about 42,000 at present.
“In the past only Rs 50 crore was disbursed to SHGs across the state but from 2018 till date, despite two years of COVID-19 pandemic, the government has been able to disburse Rs 380 crore to different SHGs in the state,” he said.
He also informed that under different mission mode programmes for farmers’ welfare, the state government has invested more than Rs 700 crore to support farmers and leverage farming activities.
“Through the various mission mode programmes in the past four and half years, the government has worked to bring a turnaround in the different farming sectors. We are working with a vision of doubling farmers’ income and have maximum impact at the grassroots through these interventions,” the chief minister added.
It is pertinent to note that FOCUS and FOCUS+ are flagship initiatives of the state government that provides financial aid to the farmers.

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