Telangana schemes for farmers bearing fruit
A quantum jump in the budget allocation to agriculture sector in the last four years by Telangana State government came as a big solace to the distressed farmers, who had to struggle hard with the increasing debt burden and the meagre input subsidies extended by the previous governments in the undivided Andhra Pradesh
Hyderabad: A quantum jump in the budget allocation to agriculture sector in the last four years by Telangana State government came as a big solace to the distressed farmers, who had to struggle hard with the increasing debt burden and the meagre input subsidies extended by the previous governments in the undivided Andhra Pradesh.
The official statistics says the allocation to agriculture sector, out of the total budget outlay, has been increased to 8.80 per cent (Rs 14,095 crore) in 2018-19 from 0.18 per cent (Rs 182 crore) in 2014-15, a testimony that Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s government is committed to promote agriculture as a profitable profession and bring permanent smiles on the faces of farming community in the future.
A sneak peek into the 50-month-old Chandrashekar Rao’s rule highlighted the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government’s top priority to the farming sector by introducing many firsts of its kinds welfare measures meant for farmers in the country.
As promised by Chandrashekar Rao, his government waived off farm loans to the tune of Rs 17,000 crore, helping farmers to get rid of debt burden. The Rythu Bandhu – crop investment support scheme with Rs 8,000 per acre per annum received huge applause from all States and also financial and agricultural experts. In the first instalment, the government disbursed Rs 6,000 crore to farmers directly to their bank accounts to take up farming activity in the present kharif season.
As a result, farmers resumed agricultural activity using the financial assistance in their lands. The government has earmarked Rs 12,000 crore alone to the single scheme. With the investment support scheme, 90.5 per cent of poor farmers were benefitted. Nearly 58 lakh farmers benefited under the scheme. Further, the government also introduced Rythu Bandhu - Rs 5 lakh insurance scheme ensuring that the families get some relief in case of the untimely death of a farmer. Already 28 lakh farmers were enrolled under the scheme that came into effect from August 15 this year.
The other proactive measures taken up the KCR’s government include the constitution of Telangana Rythu Samanvaya Samithies from the village to State level, distribution of new Pattardar Passbooks, land records purification, registration of Sada Binamas and timely supply of seeds and fertilizers to farmers in every farming season. These schemes rescued the farmers from taking loans at higher interest rates from private lenders which ultimately put them under big debt trap every year. Round-the-clock free power supply to agriculture relieved the farmers from the energy crisis faced for many decades in the Telangana region.
The innovative measures like promotion of poly houses with 90 per cent subsidy to the farmers, mechanisation of farming by distributing tractors at high subsidies and the enforcement of PD Act on those who supply of spurious seeds and fertilizers consolidated the agriculture sector. As on March 2018, nearly 29,934 tractors were distributed. Along with this, for sowing 5,500 sowing machines were being distributed on subsidised price. While drip irrigation equipment are being supplied at 100 per cent subsidy to SC/ST farmers, for BCs, and small/marginal farmers, 90 per cent subsidy is being provided and for other farmers 85 per cent is being given. At 75 per cent subsidy for paddy seeds is also being provided by the government.
The sustainable efforts made by the government to make farming a profitable profession are already yielding good results as the educated youth including techies are shifting to agriculture and adopting it as a permanent career. Revival of abandoned water bodies and tanks in rural areas under Mission Kakatiya, construction of Kaleshwaram project and the redesign and reengineering of long-pending irrigation projects aiming to create one crore ayauct brought cheers to farmers cultivating lands under Krishna and Godavari basins.
The only major challenge before the KCR government is to extend Minimum Support Prices (MSP) to all agriculture produce in every season and wipe out farmers’ miseries permanently. The Chief Minister is already taking measures towards this with the support of the Union government.