BNAGALORE: Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa is all set to create a record of sorts by tabling first ever agriculture budget in the country on February 24.
Besides, all the buzz surrounding it, will this budget have anything that really help the primary sector to come out of slumber?
Or will it go into the history as yet another political gimmick? Answers to these questions will be known only Yedddyurappa tables it on the floor of the Legislative Assembly.
The agriculture that once used to contribute over one third of State’s GDP, has now become a major laggard in State’s growth.
In fact, the growth of agriculture has been in negative territory in the last four to five years despite several programmes and schemes by the successive governments.
With large number of farmers, especially youth showing their back to agriculture owing to its uncertainties and also with rapid shrinking of farm land due growing urbanisation and industrialisation, this sector is expected to make new lows in the coming years unless issues plaguing it are addressed on priority basis.
The decision of the CM to present a separate budget for agriculture has already created lot of curiosity and hopes among people particularly the peasants. However, with no reference to fall back on the shape and content of such a budget, it is expected that the CM who is also the finance minister might club the allocations that used to be made in the general budget for agriculture and irrigation in a separate booklet and present it.
In other words, the programmes and schemes including old and new ones of departments of horticulture, fisheries, sugar, APMC, animal husbandry, revenue, major and minor irrigation which are interlinked with the agriculture will make their way into the agriculture budget.
Among others, major announcements that are expected to be made in the budget include farm loans at one percent interest rate, subsidised loans to poor farmers to buy cows and other livestock, expansion of ‘Bhoochetana’ a programme to increase soil fertility to all districts, more thrust on promoting organic farming, distribution of farm equipments and seeds to poor farmers at a further subsidised rates, adoption of land holdings of SCs and STs, subsidised loans to buy livestock.
The allocation for irrigation is also likely to go up especially in the backdrop of Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal’s verdict. Karnataka has got 177 tmc feet of water under B scheme and it needs to spend over Rs 10,000 crore for creating infrastructure to utilise this water.