Hyderabad: Telangana is set to to take a major initiative to give a thrust to the farm sector in the State and introduce a separate annual agriculture budget — a first in the country — in March. The TS agriculture budget for the 2018-19 fiscal, in line with the government’s endeavour to fast track agricultural growth, is expected to be in the region of Rs 50,000 crore.
Official sources told Telangana Today that the agriculture budget would also include allocations for the various irrigation projects, Farmers Investment Support Scheme (FISS of Rs 8,000 per acre per year), subsidies for various farm inputs, marketing, insurance premium, horticulture sector and seed development programme.
Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, it may be recalled, had announced some time ago that the State would go for a separate agriculture budget from next fiscal. He directed the officials to cover all agriculture and allied sectors allocations for inclusion under one head.
On the move to include irrigation in the agriculture budget, an official involved in preparing the budget papers, said: “Construction of irrigation projects is aimed at providing irrigation water to farmers and hence we are planning to include budgetary allocations pertaining to irrigation in agriculture budget itself.”
The Chief Minister announced Rs 4,000 per acre per crop as investment support for the peasant community in the State starting from the coming kharif season. According to preliminary data available with the government, the FISS scheme would cost about Rs 15,000 crore to the State exchequer.
“The TS government is providing the highest subsidies to farmers in the country, and in some cases, the subsidy is 100 per cent for farmers from Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe communities. This year, we requested the government to increase the budgetary allocations for various subsidy schemes,” Agriculture secretary C Parthasarathi told Telangana Today.
The State government had allocated Rs 5,942 crore for the agriculture sector in the 2017-18 budget, which included allocation of Rs 4,694 crore towards farm loan wavier scheme. For marketing, the allocation is expected to go beyond the Rs 1,024 crore allotted for the present year. Finance Department officials said the budgetary allocation for agricluture and allied sector would be around Rs 25,000 crore and with the clubbing of irrigation too in the agriculture budget, the figure is expected to touch Rs 50,000 crore.
The State government wanted to set a new trend by introducing separate budget for agriculture with thumping allocation during its first novel exercise.