Karnataka: India’s herb basket amid Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic unleashed a global race to discover a viable cure against the virus. While scientists were still trying to manufacture a successful vaccine candidate, health experts advised to boost the body’s immune system to minimize the effect of the virus and hasten recovery from the disease. Thus the medicinal herbs emerged as a savior against the global pandemic.

Karnataka inhabits 2,000 medicinal plant species:

The state of Karnataka boasts an unparallel diversity of medicinal plants in the country. It is estimated that, Karnataka inhabits about 4,800 species of flowering plants out of which about 2,000 species are medicinal. This accounts for about 27% of the country’s flora, with just 10% of the geographical area.

The plantation industry contributes towards the economic development of the state and helps to improve the economy by earning through export of the commercial crops, which has increased manifolds post Covid-19. It also effectively conserves the soil ecosystem in protecting it against soil erosion during the monsoon season.

Overall boost to medicinal plants under schemes & packages launched by Govt:

The Ministry of Finance has announced Rs. 4,000 crore package under Atma Nirbhar Bharat mission for the promotion of Herbal cultivation in the country. In line with this, the Ministry of AYUSH has prepared a draft scheme, the ‘Pradhan Mantri VRIKSH AYUSH Yojana’ for the cultivation and marketing of medicinal plants.

Presently, the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India is implementing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM) in identified cluster/zones with in selected districts of states. As per the scheme guidelines, the govt. will provide support for cultivation of prioritized medicinal plants on farmer’s land, establishment of nurseries and supply of quality planting material, post-harvest management and marketing infrastructure etc.

Under this scheme, subsidy at a rate of 30%, 50% and 75% of the cultivation cost of specific plant species is provided for cultivation of 140 medicinal plants.

National Medicinal plants Board, Ministry of AYUSH is implementing a central sector scheme on “Conservation, Development and Sustainable Management of Medicinal Plants.”

Ministry of Rural Development under MGNREGA is supporting plantation of selected plants species as per agro-climatic conditions, market opportunities, income generation etc.

The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare has launched a Sub-Mission on Agro forestry (Har Medh Par Ped) to encourage tree plantation on farm land along with crops to help the farmers get additional income and make their farming system more climate resilient and adaptive.

The scheme is being implemented in 20 States & 2 UTs: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, M.P., Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, U.P., Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, J&K and Ladakh with a funding pattern of 60:40 between Centre and State Govt.

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