First farm budget disappoints farmers
Tirupati: For the first time in Andhra Pradesh, the State government had presented a separate annual budget for agriculture on Monday in the...
Tirupati: For the first time in Andhra Pradesh, the State government had presented a separate annual budget for agriculture on Monday in the Assembly. The budget proposals, however, disappointed the farmers in the district.A Slamming the proposals, they said the State government ignored several farm-related issues. Interestingly, the budget proposals received appreciation from the president of the Confederation of Indian Farmers Associations Chengal Reddy. He patted the State government for recognising the importance of the farm sector and said, "A similar initiative is being implemented in Karnataka for the past four years." He, however, suggested that the planning for the development of agricultural sector should be from village level and allocations should be at district level. Stressing that the pending projects, which are nearing their completion, should be completed on priority basis, he identified projects like Brahmamgari Reservoir, Lift Irrigation project in Mahbubnagar, and Nagavali-Vamshadhara and said they should be completed at the earliest. "Government should allocate grants for early completion of the projects," he said. Chengal Reddy pointed out that the government failed to announce specific grants for paddy crops. A The importance given to Chittoor district for mango crop should also be given to Krishna and Kadapa districts, he said. There should be linkage with private processing and marketing companies to preserve mango yield and also for exporting, he said. Once this mechanism comes into force, mangoes can be preserved in cold storage plants to about 90 days for defapping and other needs, he said. President of Federation of Farmers of India, Chittoor district, Mangati Gopal Reddy said, "We can't term it as 'separate budget', because there are no details of receipts of revenues from farm sector. Instead, the minister only spelt out the expenditure. Government is collecting cess, taxes and others from agricultural products, but no details were presented. Unless the NREGS works were linked to agricultural sector, we can't achieve complete results and overcome the shortage of labour problem." All the allocations in the farm budget were also in the previous budgets. There was no stress in this budget on the monitoring mechanism of these funds, he said. But separate sub-plan for agriculture is a good idea, but the enforcement and commitment in monitoring the expenses of funds is most important, he stressed. Meanwhile, flaying the farm budget, T Audikesavulu Reddy, district president of Kissan Service Organisation, stressed about the efforts in controlling the price system. About 58 per cent of the total population of the State is from the farming sector. However, the allocation to this sector is mere 2 per cent, which won't help the farming community, he said. The allocations in the total budget to agricultural sector is just 0.5 per cent, he pointed. The allocations for 'Jala Yagnam' is low comparative to last year as well as the subsidy for agricultural power, he pointed out. Despite several representations to Minister Kanna Lakshminarayana to include sugarcane in the agriculture sector rather than the existing industries category, no action was taken, Reddy pointed out. A The budget totally ignored irrigation projects like Handri-Niva, Galeru-Nagari, Somasila and Swarnamukhi canals, he said.