In the rice development scheme major thrust is given for the promotion of fallow land cultivation and group based paddy promotion concentrated in the major rice growing tracts of the State under seven Special Agriculture Zones with natural endowments for augmenting rice productivity. The ultimate objective would be to increase the area under rice to 3 lakh ha by the end of 13th five year plan. An outlay of Rs.87.65 crore is provided during 2018-19. An amount of Rs.6000.00 lakhs is provided for providing input assistance @Rs.5500/ha under sustainable rice development component excluding Palakkad district. The support of Rs.5500/ ha will be linked to quality seeds, organic inputs, certification and bio-control agents. Input assistance for Palakkad district will be provided under National Food Security Mission. An amount of Rs.300.00 lakhs is set apart for promoting group farming activities of the active Padasekhara samithies. The amount will be released to Padasekhara samithies based on a transparent criterion for promoting group farming and facilitating e-payment system. The padasekharams will be revitalized and encouraged to set up rice mills. Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification assistance will also be provided to padasekharams. Focused interventions are proposed in seven Special Agriculture Zones for Paddy viz. Kuttanad, Onattukara, Pokkali, Kole, Palakkad, Wayanad and Kaipad. An amount of Rs.150.00 lakhs is set apart to provide operational support to paddy development agencies in a project based manner. For the promotion of fallow land cultivation an amount of Rs.1200.00 lakhs is earmarked. Rice fallows will be brought under sustainable cultivation in a phased manner in project mode with the active involvement of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) and Kudumbasree. The assistance to farmers will be based on a panchayat level list of beneficiaries prepared under the supervision of the Agricultural Officers. A three year support as approved in 2016-17 will be continued. The possibility of raising double crop from single cropped paddy lands and triple crop from double cropped lands will be explored in potential areas to increase the gross cultivated area. Upland cultivation will be expanded considering the scarcity of wet lands for which an amount of Rs.375.00 lakhs is set apart. Support for group formation of upland cultivators and fallow land cultivators will be provided. In order to ensure the availability of certified seeds suitable to the locality “Registered Seed Growers Programme” (RSGP) will be continued with special emphasis on seed village basis. Rice mills and parboiling units to undertake local processing, packing, branding and marketing of rice and rice products including mini rice mills and special mini rice mills to process speciality rice varieties are also proposed to be established through padasekhara samithies/co-operatives/NGOs/ farmer entrepreneurs under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) programme. Support will also be provided for certification. To encourage and sustain paddy cultivation in urban areas including education institutions an amount of Rs.100.00 lakhs is earmarked. An amount of Rs.100.00 lakhs is set apart as “Rice Innovation Fund” for new, ecofriendly and sustainable technologies aimed at improving paddy production and for undertaking “Rice Year” programmes on a project mode from the 100 activities identified as part of rice year.