Hyderabad: Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar hailed the Telangana state government’s innovative agriculture scheme Rythu Bandhu and the initiative of forming Rythu Samanvaya Samithis.
Tomar held a video conference with Chief Ministers and agriculture ministers of different states on Thursday, during which he sought opinion on the Centre’s proposed Agriculture Infrastructure Fund Scheme.
Union Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal, during his PowerPoint presentation, said that Rythu Bandhu scheme proved to be very beneficial to farmers and appreciated several other programmes and schemes which are being successfully implemented in Telangana.
Rythu Bandhu Samithis led to organising the farmers into groups and forming a network in the state. He said that with this network, schemes like Agriculture Infrastructure Fund can be successfully and effectively implemented.
TS Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao held a meeting with the Nabard chairman in which state agriculture minister S. Niranjan Reddy also participated. “The Telangana state government hopes that Agriculture Infrastructure Fund scheme would help in developing the agriculture sector and getting more investments into it. It has been proposed that the Centre would bear 3 per cent of the interest levied on the loans taken to invest in agriculture sector but it would be better if there is no interest levied on the investments in the agriculture sector. If loans are interest-free, more investments can come into the sector,” opined Niranjan Reddy.
“The Telangana government under the guidance of KCR is implementing several programmes in the state to develop the agriculture sector and striving for the welfare of farmers in the state. We are extending Rs 7,000 crore as input subsidy to 58 lakh farmers for every crop under the Rythu Bandhu scheme. From village to state-level, Rythu Bandhu Samithis were formed. There are 1.65 lakh heads to the Samithis. Every 5,000 acres had been made into a cluster and one agriculture extension officer was appointed to each cluster,” Niranjan Reddy explained to the Union minister.
Compared to last year, the extent of cultivable land has increased by 39 per cent. As on date, cultivation is taking place in 1.36 crore acres in Telangana, he said, adding that another 4-5 lakh acres will be added in the coming days, Niranjan Reddy said.
The minister also urged the Centre to increase the supply of fertilisers, especially urea, to the state.
“The Centre made an announcement that it would bring reforms in the maintenance of agriculture markets. We need clarity on what kind of reforms are expected. Hundreds of markets committees are already successfully working in Telangana,” he said.
The pension scheme is being implemented to employees of the market committees and also to those who had retired. Works are on to improve the infrastructure facilities at the markets, he said and sought clarification on what will happen to the works if the Centre comes with reforms.