Economy of Himachal Pradesh is agrarian based as more than 90 percent population resides in villages. State government is endeavouring to create best infrastructure of basic amenities at the village level to check rural migration to urban and semi-urban areas. The State Government is also making an effort to revive traditional vocations and strengthen rural economy to retain rural youth in their villages.
Sheep and goat rearing is a primary occupation of migratory tribes, besides being an important subsidiary occupation of rural population in the State, particularly in Chamba, Kangra and Mandi Districts. Sheep and goat are reared by the poor of the rural population and they provide the society with meat, wool, milk and manure. These animals have wide adaptability to suit many of the agro-climatic conditions. However, this sector remained backward on account of poor awareness, non-availability of credit, and lack of focus on improving performance of animals. Considering these problems, State Government is making all efforts to organize and educate sheep breeders in the latest technology available, to ensure that animals are selected for better performance by making use of locally available resources.
‘Bhed Palak Samridhi Yojna’ was launched on 18th October, 2010 for the benefit of Gaddi (Shephard) community. Under this scheme, easy loans are available on 33.33 % subsidy to the beneficiaries. This scheme is being implemented in District Chamba, Mandi and Kangra for Sheep & Goat units and District Kullu and Shimla for rabbit units. Now, the State Level Sanctioning & Monitoring Committee (SLSMC) has decided to extend this scheme to district Shimla, Kullu and Kinnaur also for Sheep /Goat units.
The main objective of the scheme is to encourage sheep, goat, and rabbit rearing farmers to go in for commercial rearing rather than subsistence farming by providing incentives for performance. This scheme will also help in improving production performance of native breeds.
The ambitious scheme ‘Bhed Palak Samridhi Yojna’ is benefiting interested Sheep breeders with liberal financial assistance ranging between Rs. 1.00 lakh to Rs. 25 lakh. A loan of Rs. 1.00 lakh is available to the shepherds to establish unit of 40 sheep/goats and two rams/bucks, for which beneficiary’s share is Rs. 10,000/- ( 10%) and subsidy of Rs. 33,300 is provided.
A loan of Rs. 25 lakh is available under the scheme for establishing Sheep and Goat Breeding Units having 500 sheep/goats and 25 rams/bucks, wherein subsidy amount is Rs. 8.33 lakh and beneficiary share is Rs. 6.5 lakh ( 25%). A loan of up to Rs. 2.25 lakh is also available for establishing Rabbit units in District Shimla and Kullu on 33.33 percent subsidy.
Individual farmers and self help groups are the intended beneficiaries for setting up rearing units under the scheme. Preference is being given to traditional shepherds, women, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes. Individual farmers and NGO’s are eligible for breeding farms with preference for those who have organized the farmers into groups for taking up rearing of small ruminants.
The State Level Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee is authorized to decide the unit size and unit cost for rearing of sheep and goats based on the local conditions within the ceiling of subsidy amount of 33.33 per cent of the outlay subject to a maximum of Rs. 33,300.
Capital subsidy under the scheme is purely credit linked and subject to sanction of the project by eligible financial institutions. The eligible financial institutions include Commercial Banks, Regional Rural Banks, State Cooperative Banks, State Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Banks.
Banks appraise the projects as per their norms and after disbursement of the loans, apply through their controlling offices to NABARD Regional Office for sanction of subsidy. On similar lines, entrepreneur/NGO can also prepare a detailed project report for financing Breeding units and submit to their financing banks for sanction and disbursement of loan.
The subsidy released to the banks by NABARD is kept in a separate subsidy reserve fund account. The adjustment of subsidy is back ended. Accordingly, bank loan including subsidy amount is disbursed as loan by the banks. The repayment schedule is drawn on the loan amount in such a way that the total subsidy amount is adjusted after repayment of bank loan component. No interest is chargeable on subsidy portion. After crediting the subsidy amount in the reserve fund account, banks are required to submit an Utilisation Certificate. Repayment period of loan depends upon the cash flow of the project and is up to maximum of 9 years including grace period of 2 years.
State Government is providing Rs. 55 per kg. Support Price for procurement of the wool against the market rate of Rs. 27 per kg. Gaddi Community has got scheduled tribal status and Constitution of Gaddi Welfare Board is one of the important initiatives taken by the State Government for the welfare of the community.