HYDERABAD: Though much was said about loan waiver scheme, one of the important promises made in the ruling party’s election manifesto, in the maiden Agriculture Budget of the Andhra Pradesh government, ‘how’ and ‘when’ with regard to the scheme implementation was not explained much.
Presenting the Agriculture Budget, Minister for Agriculture P Pulla Rao limited himself to stating that Rs 5000 crore is proposed for the waiver of agriculture crop loans and agriculture gold loans to the extent of Rs 1.5 lakh per family. He said balance money will be mobilised based on actual requirement which is being worked out in the field.
Allocations to the tune of Rs 6,736.44 crore under plan and ` 6,373.95 crore under non-plan were made in the agriculture budget for 2014-15 financial year to help the crisis-ridden agriculture sector.
According to him, the foodgrain production target for the current fiscal has been fixed at 127.04 lakh metric tonnes as against the foodgrain production of 116.64 lakh metric tonnes during 2013-14. A provision of ` 212 crore has been made for supply of certified seeds on subsidy to the farmers and Rs 90 crore for supply of farm equipment.
“Interest-free crop loans will be extended to all farmers up to Rs 1 lakh and on Pavala Vaddi from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 3 lakh if repaid in time and it will be continued,” he said.
A new programme ‘Polam Pilustondi’ has been launched aiming at improved extension programmes. Adarsha Rythus (Progressive farmers) will be discontinued and qualified multi purpose extension officers will be recruited to improve extension in agriculture.
Seven strategies will be adopted for improvement of horticulture and on farm water management will be taken up with an outlay of Rs 348.33 crore.
Stress will be on research in YSR Horticulture University, which has been allotted Rs 30.61 crore. Equal importance has been given to sericulture, for which Rs 122.92 crore has been allocated in the current fiscal. In case of animal husbandry, Rs 723.32 crore has been allocated for the current fiscal.
Several initiatives like creation of additional warehousing facilities, revival of soil testing labs, modernisation of market yards and checkposts for strengthening of agriculture marketing and Rs 156.87 crore was allocated to cooperation department.
According to the Minister, for the current fiscal, State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC) has approved credit plan for agriculture and allied sector to a tune of Rs 56,109.16 crore. An amount of Rs 3,188 crore was allocated for power subsidy and plans were put forth for replacing 36,000 non-ISI pumpssets with energy efficient ISI pumpsets in a phased manner. Increasing power supply to 9 hours in a phased manner is on the agenda. An allocation of Rs 1,386 crores for agriculture and allied sectors under MGNREGA has been made.
“The government accords highest priority to agriculture sector and welfare of the farmers. Every effort is being made to make it more profitable and every measure in that direction is being initiated,” Minister concluded.