Hyderabad: The Union Agricultural Ministry has lauded several initiatives of Telangana in the field of agriculture, particularly the “Rytu Bandhu” scheme and the farmers’ coordination committees. The Union ministry appreciated the programmes implemented by the State to develop the agricultural sector.
The name of Telangana was prominently mentioned at a video conference held by Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar with all the Agriculture Ministers of different States, including Telangana, represented by Singireddy Niranjan Reddy on Thursday.
The Union government sought opinions of the State governments regarding the proposed Agriculture Infrastructure Fund Scheme. Union Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal in his presentation made special mention of Rytu Bandhu and Farmers Coordination Committees of Telangana. “Rytu Bandhu is very useful for farmers and the Farmer Coordination Committees help bring all the farmers on one platform. This helped the State create a wider farmers network which will play an instrumental role in implementing the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund Scheme,” he said. He appreciated the role of the Telangana State government in creating a platform for farmers on its own and also various other farmer centric programmes implemented by it.
Minister for Agriculture Niranjan Reddy, who attended the meeting representing Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao as there was also a meeting scheduled with Chairman of Nabard running side by side, said that the Telangana government welcomes the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund Scheme. “We hope that the proposed scheme will help attract investments into the agriculture sector thereby bringing in more development,” he said.
However Niranjan Reddy suggested the Centre to completely bear the interest burden of the loans to be given under the Scheme. “The proposed scheme says that the Centre will bear 3 per cent of the interest to be paid by the investor. I feel that we must not penalise the entrepreneurs who come forward to invest in the farming sector. If we can give them interest-free loans more people will come forward and invest in this sector,” he said.
He explained to the Union government that Telangana has introduced several programmes aimed at agriculture development and farmer’s welfare. “The government is helping 58 lakh farmers to the tune of Rs 7,000 crore for every cropping season. Rytu Bandhu Samithis right from village to State level have been created in which 1.65 lakh farmers are members of the committees. For every cluster of 5,000 acres, an agriculture extension officer has been appointed,” he said.
He said that the initiative helped create a network of farmers and increased irrigation and farmers’ centric decisions of the State government resulting in increased acreage.
“This year the increase is up to 39 per cent. Already cultivation has begun in 1.36 crore acres. Within a few days, additional four lakh acres will also come under cultivation. As Telangana is undertaking farming activity in such a
huge scale, the Centre must help us by releasing required amount of fertilizers, particularly urea,” he urged the Union Minister. Niranjan Reddy also said that the Centre must give clarity over the proposed reforms to agricultural markets in the country.
“In Telangana hundreds of market committees are working efficiently. All the employees were paid well and even the retired employees of these market committees receive pensions. Works are in progress to create basic infrastructure in these committees. We will decide on future course of action based on the reforms that the Centre wishes to introduce,” he said.
Rytu Bandhu State president Palla Rajeshwar Reddy and Principal Secretary, Agriculture B Janardhan Reddy were also present at the conference.