Finance Minister O Panneerselvam on Thursday announced that the Tamil Nadu Cotton Cultivation Mission would be launched with an initial outlay of `50 crore to meet the demand for cotton in TN.
Presenting the budget for 2014-15 in the State Assembly, the Finance Minister said this Mission would focus on higher productivity and production. Funds under the Cotton Technology Mission of the Government of India would also be dovetailed with the State Mission. “It is proposed to bring at least 3.70 lakh acres under cotton crop by 2014-2015, and ultimately increase it to cover six lakh acres in the next five years through this Mission,” the Minister said and pointed out that at present, cotton was cultivated in the State on 3.34 lakh acres, with a production of four lakh bales.
Since there were 1,948 spinning mills in the State requiring 110 lakh bales of cotton per year, the production of cotton within the State was inadequate.
The Minister said during 2013-14, `3,948 crore had been disbursed as crop loan by the cooperatives till date, as against the target of `4,500 crore, thus benefiting 8.9 lakh farmers.
During 2014-2015, the crop loan target for cooperatives would be enhanced to an unprecedented level of `5,000 crore. “This government has sanctioned full-interest subvention support to make the crop loan free of interest to farmers who repay it in time. An amount of `200 crore has been provided as interest subvention,” he said.
Stating that the government would continue its efforts to improve on-farm productivity and farmers’ income, the Finance Minister said towards this objective, various sub-projects would be taken up under the National Agriculture Development Programme (NADP), at a cost of `323 crore during 2014-2015.