Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma on Thursday said that over ₹1000 Cr had been disbursed to farming communities in the state through different welfare schemes, including the FOCUS program, in the last four years.
Informing that FOCUS is the biggest welfare program for the benefit of 4.5 lakh farmers, he said that the government has realized the importance of the program and has decided to provide an additional direct transfer of ₹5000 each as a family benefit to every farming household in the state through the FOCUS + program.
He said that through the FOCUS program, close to 18,000 producer groups have been formed across the state, and more such groups are being formed. He added that 2.5 lakh farmer families had reaped the benefits of the scheme. The Chief Minister said that the farming communities in the state are very upbeat about the program, which made the government launch the FOCUS + program.
Addressing the gathering, he said that marked the success of the FOCUS program and positive feedback from beneficiaries has prompted the government to launch FOCUS + to further provide an additional ₹5000 to each farming individual directly into their account. He also informed that the ₹5000 assistance that is being provided is not any kind of loan and that the financial assistance is being provided as seed money for initiating farming and related activities for income generation. He further said that through programs like the Northeast Food Show that is being organized annually in Shillong, the State Government has been able to promote and showcase different products of the farming communities and those of the entrepreneurs. He said that through the different initiatives of the government, the farmers and the entrepreneurs had been linked to markets – nationally and globally.
During the launch of FOCUS + at Betasing in Southwest Garo Hills today, Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma, along with Government Chief Whip Marquise Marak and advisor to Chief Minister Thomas A. Sangma and other MDCs, handed over cheques amounting to 22.95 lakhs to 40 producer groups. FOCUS, originally launched in March 2021, has benefitted over 2.5 lakh farmers to date.
It was launched to boost agri-economic activities by the collectivization of producer groups for farm and non-farm produce. As per FOCUS+, households would be provided with a FOCUS+ card as identification and a cash transfer of Rs.5,000/-as a family benefit. Individuals would need to get registered under a producer group to avail the benefit. This is an additional benefit of over Rs. 5,000 to the producer group account from the FOCUS scheme.