Hyderabad: Telangana is spending 30 per cent of its annual budget on agriculture and allied sectors making it as one of the most farmer-friendly States in the country. State Finance Minister T Harish Rao said this at the State Credit Seminar organized by NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) here on Thursday.
Harish Rao said that Telangana was concentrating on farming as the Chief Minister himself is a farmer. He pointed out that farming had lost its sheen down the years with consecutive governments in the combined State of Andhra Pradesh neglected the sector. “Farmer was made to depend on seeds, fertilizer, minimum support price and above all rains as there was no irrigation,” Harish said.
Appreciating the role of NABARD in strengthening agriculture and related fields after K Chandrashekhar Rao took over the reins of the State, Harish said that the bank assisted Telangana in the construction of grain storages at cost of Rs 1,056 cr and Rs 874 cr for Micro irrigation projects. Enlisting several schemes aimed at reviving farmers confidence in the sector, the Minister said that farmers had been assisted with insurance scheme for which the State is spending Rs 1,136 cr every year. “For the last five years, we have waived loans taken by farmers at a cost of Rs 6,000 cr per year,” he added.
The Finance Minister said the farmers now have free uninterrupted quality power supply free of cost for their borewells and the government also undertook the construction of major lift irrigation projects such as Kaleshwaram, Neppempadu, Bhima. “These projects also will get free power. In this way, the quantum of free power given for the benefit of farmers stands at Rs 8,000 cr every year,” he said. Allocations for allied sectors of animal husbandry, fisheries and dairy have been increased considerably. “Telangana stands next to Kerala in fish production. The State has 4,400 fishery societies, standing in number one position in the country, lakhs of families are depending on fishery sector,” he said.
No farmer distress
“Earlier there were news reports on farmers suicides in the State. Now we don’t see those headlines any more. This is because Telangana is spending Rs 25,000 cr on irrigation alone. The State is transforming into a seed bowl of the nation. We are exporting seed to several Asian and African countries now,” he said. The Minister sought NABARD’s assistance in developing food processing, marketing, storage and export sectors. “Real incomes of farmers can only be increased if we can provide them marketing facilities,” he said stressing the need for combined efforts of the rural and commercial banks with the department of rural development.
He also advised NABARD to involve farmers while preparing their annual action plan. “Listen to them, they will help you in creating a best annual plan if you hold district wise meetings with the farmers,” Harish said.