NEW DELHI: The issue of agrarian distress caused acrimony in the Lok Sabha even while the government rejected the Opposition criticism on prevailing drought situations in Tamil Nadu and other parts of the country by reiterating that the NDA government has significantly enhanced allocations to meet situations arising out of adverse situations.
The Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, while raising the issue during Zero Hour, said that the farmers from Tamil Nadu have been camping in the national capital following acute drought situations in the state. “The Centre despite numerous representations has not yet taken any actions to ameliorate the distress among the farmers in the state. Similar situations are prevailing in Maharashtra and other parts of the country,” said Scindia, who was supported by other MPs also.
Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Radhamohan Singh, while intervening, refuted the claims of the Congress leader that the Centre has not taken steps against demands raised by the Tamil Nadu government and farmers. He claimed that the Tamil Nadu government has not been spending funds meant for the development of agriculture in the state.
“Tamil Nadu government was provided with Rs 9 crores in 2014-15, Rs 22 crores in 2015-16 and Rs 51 crores in 2016-17 for the micro-irrigation purposes. The state government has not been utilizing the funds. Why does not the state government use the funds meant for the betterment of the farmers,” asked Singh.
The minister also stated that the funds are available under the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF), which could also be utilized to mitigate the situations arising out of the drought situations in the state. “While the funds under SDRF under the UPA was Rs 1830 cores, the same was enhanced to Rs 3,000 crores for Tamil Nadu after the NDA came in power,” added Singh. He also stated that the funds available with the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) have also been enhanced to Rs 47,000 crores.