Hyderabad: Declaring that Telangana was a pro-farmer State, the Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao announced a whopping Rs 20,107 crore allocation for the agriculture sector in the vote-on-account budget for 2019- 20. The allocation for the farm sector is a massive increase over last year’s Rs 15,788 crore.
Presenting a vote-on-account budget in the State Assembly, Chandrashekhar Rao, who holds the Finance portfolio, listed out the various farmer-friendly initiatives taken up by the TRS government, which, in his words, had become trail-blazers for the entire nation.
“The schemes being implemented in Telangana are receiving accolades from all corners of the country. Through Rythu Bhandu, Rythu Bhima, Land Records Updation, Farmers’ Coordination Committees and other programmes, the government has infused confidence in the farming sector,” he said.
Stating that the government would strive to meet the expectations of the farming community in the State, the Chief Minister said the government, to ensure that farmers get remunerative prices for their produce, would be establishing food processing units across the State, and these will be established in partnership with farmers.
Recalling that loan waiver immediately after the TRS came to power in 2014, he said crop loans of over 35,29,000 farmers amounting to Rs.16,124 crore were paid to the banks by the government. “The government will continue to support the farmers till their situation improves, which is why we are proposing to waive off all agriculture term loans up to Rs one lakh outstanding as on December 11, 2018. An amount of Rs.6,000 crore has been proposed for this measure,” he said.
Stating that farmers queuing up for seeds and fertilisers was a thing of the past, the Chief Minister said manufacturers of spurious seeds and fertilisers were being dealt with a firm hand.
Highlighting the importance of strengthening the Marketing department, Chandrashekhar Rao pointed out that the government had increase the storage capacity of 4.17 lakh tonnes in 2014 to 22.50 lakh tonnes through construction of 364 godowns.
The Chief Minister also underlined the various long term measures the TRS government had launched in irrigation sector in the form of massive projects, rejuvenation of tanks and 24×7 quality power supply to the farm sector, the only State to do so.
On Rythu Bandhu, the unique investment support scheme introduced by the TRS government last year, the Chief Minister said it was a matter of pride that international bodies like the United Nations and eminent economists like Dr. Aravind Subramanian, former Chief Economic Adviser, Dr. Ashok Gulati, former Chairman of the Commission on Agriculture Costs and Prices and Dr. Ramesh Chand, Member, NITI Aayog, had lauded the scheme as innovative.
“Rythu Bhandu has now become a national agenda, with several States implementing this scheme. However, the recently introduced Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) by the Centre extends a much smaller assistance. In State legislatures, media and other fora, this scheme has been considered a role model,” he said, adding that the government proposed to increase the amount under the scheme from Rs 4,000 per acre per season to Rs 5,000 per acre per season, for which Rs 12,000 crore was allocated in the interim budget.
Chandrashekhar Rao said another landmark scheme introduced for the farmers was Rythu Bhima, an insurance scheme that provides Rs five lakh to farmers’ families in case of death of the ryot due to any cause. “This scheme was introduced to ensure that families of deceased farmers are not on the roads in the event of death,” he said. The budgetary provision for this farmers’ group insurance scheme proposed was Rs 650 crore for 2019-20.
The Chief Minister said the TRS government had embarked on another unique programme to provide a permanent solution to land disputes and litigations. “The State government took up the gigantic and courageous step of comprehensive Land Records Updation Programme (LRUP) in the State. Working day and night, the teams surveyed and certified/purified 95 per cent of land records as litigation free and up to date. We are working hard to update the remaining land records,” he said.
Speaking about the initiatives to support poor farmers, Chandrashekhar Rao said the government took up regularisation of Sada Bainamas. The sale and purchase of land done through Sada Bainamas have been given legal status with their registration by the government without any charges,” he said.
In another major step towards increasing agriculture production, the government has decided to form crop colonies taking into account agro-climatic and environmental conditions and soil types in various districts. “The Agricultural University and the Agriculture Department are making serious efforts. The objective of the crop colonies is to align cropping pattern to meet the requirement of the people as also international demand,” he said, adding that this will help farmers in getting remunerative price for their produce.
As part of implementing this concept, small, medium and large scale food processing units will be set up across the State, in which IKP employees and women’s organisations working in the State will be partners.
The Chief Minister said that with the objective of providing unadulterated food and remunerative prices to farmers, the government set up Rythu Samanvaya Samithis. This is aimed at bringing farmers under a single platform to facilitate ryots protect their own rights. The samithis will also help farmer get remunerative prices for their produce as well as help in formation of crop colonies.