HYDERABAD: Extreme drought conditions in Telangana have hit not only the farmer but also the state government badly.
While the scant rains pushed farmers into the debt-trap, sparse funds from the Union government for drought relief are adding burden on the state government.
Even four months after the state had declared the affected mandals as drought-hit and repeated its request to the Centre for liberal financial assistance, the state has not got much. Though the Centre sanctioned `791 crore, it has released only `50 crore in the first instalment.
With this meagre assistance, the state has decided to meet the requirement for input subsidy and others from its own funds.
“We have decided not to wait for Centre’s financial assistance. We will meet the expenditure from our own funds and help farmers. The input subsidy amount will be disbursed to farmers before the commencement of Kharif season in June,” agriculture minister Pocharam Srinivas Reddy has said.
Due to the dry spell, except in Adilabad and Khammam districts, during the Kharif and Rabi seasons last year, the net crop area in the state has shrunk drastically.
Compared to 2014-15, the area under paddy crop shrank by 33 per cent in 2016-17. Likewise, maize, millet and oil seed crops too declined in Kharif. The 2015 Rabi was worse, the area under food crops sown was 5.32 lakh hectares as against the normal area of 10.08 lakh hectares. This is about 47 per cent less than the normal area. Paddy is the worst-hit crop due to dry spells.
ACTION PLAN: The state government has prepared an action plan for minimising the adverse impact of the drought and proposed to distribute input subsidy to drought-affected farmers.
It is estimated that ` 863 crore will be required towards input subsidy, as per the central government’s norms, to assist about 20.9 lakh farmers in the state. The state will also give input subsidy of ` 9.65 crore to 7,136 small and marginal horticultural farmers.
With respect to less availability of fodder for livestock, the government wants to organise cattle camps in 231 drought-hit mandals to provide fodder, mineral mixture and medicine besides drinking water.