Farmers, NGOs demand Rs 16,800 cr allocation for agriculture in AP Budget

HYDERABAD, FEB. 6:

Felt neglected and under-served, farmers, non-governments organisations and agricultural economists have called for at least 20 per cent of the Andhra Pradesh Budget on issues related to agriculture in the ensuing Budget for 2012-13. They called for allocations of Rs 16,800 crore exclusively for this ailing sector. This includes Rs 2,000 crore for a fund to help out farmers in times of natural disasters.

A round table meet organised here on Monday by Rythu Swarajya Vedika (RSV) and Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) demanded the Government allocate Rs 1,000 crore each for price stabilisation and for setting up a fund to provide guarantees to enable tenant farmers to get bank loans.

“The agriculture sector is in severe crisis. The Government is allocating just 2.6 per cent of the Budget to this sector, despite the fact that it is providing livelihood to 69 per cent of people. Whatever is allocated is going to salaries of the staff and subsidies being given to companies,” Mr Vissa Kiran Kumar of RSV, said.

The day-long meeting was attended by farmers and representatives of farmers’ organisations and NGOs, from different parts of the State. Representatives of Telugu Desam and Congress parties too have taken part in the meeting. Recommendations of the meeting would be sent to the Government as it prepares the Budget for 2012-13.

Farmers have alleged that tenant farmers were not getting bank loans, forcing them to depend on private lenders and landlords themselves.

Mr Kodanda Reddy, Chairman of Kisan Cell of Congress Party, wanted the Government to set up a State-level Committee to monitor and oversee commodity prices as they did at the Central level. He also called for a change in procurement policy.

The roundtable demanded the Government to set up a Rs 100-crore welfare fund to pay compensation to the kin of farmers who committed suicide and died of electric shocks.

kurmanath@thehindu.co.in

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