Karnataka: Budget proposes Farmers Income Commision

Karnataka Government proposes to establish Farmers Income Commission in the new budget

The Karnataka Agriculture Budget for 2013-14 is at http://www.kar.nic.in/finance/bud2013/bud2013.htm (go to Part I Agriculture). Some of the schemes and strategies announced, that caught my attention, are pasted below:

14. Creation of basic database of farmers and distribution of pass books: Database containing comprehensive information (land holding, category, address, facilities availed etc) of farmers has to be created with the integration of ‘Bhoomi’ project with the existing “Aadhar” database in the State. This information   will be useful to enable greater attention hereafter for categories and areas which have got less importance till now and for formulating agriculture related policies.   A pass book containing all this information will be provided to the farmers.  A sum of Rs 15 crore will be spent to implement this programme by fully computerizing and web-enabling in
co-ordination with the E-governance department on a pilot basis in the districts of Mysore, Tumkur, Dharwad, where Aadhar project is completed. This programme will be extended to the other districts in a phased manner.

17. New MoU for improvement of life of farmers: With a view to improve the economic condition of the farmers along with agricultural wealth, Farmers Income Commission will be set up as per the recommendations of Dr. Swaminathan. In order to formulate a programme to protect the farmers of Karnataka from the effect of frequent droughts, the State Government has entered into a MoU with 9 international C.G.I.A.R1 organisations. Basic status survey and activities as per the action plan are under progress in one district each in the four revenue divisions (Tumkur, Chikkamagaluru, Bijapur and Raichur) for implementation of the said programme. Rs.50 crore will be provided as funding to extend this programme to all the districts in the coming years in a phased manner.

19. Suvarna Bhoomi Scheme: Based on the demand from the farmers, the scheme will be continued during this year and will be   extended to the farmers growing millets such as Ragi, Jowar, Maize and Bajra.  Rs.300 Crores will be provided for assisting 3 lakh beneficiaries under this scheme during the current year.

21. Preparation, certification and distribution of organic manure : High priority has been given to organic farming in the State during the last 4 years and my Government is implementing Amruth Bhoomi scheme by constituting Organic Farming Mission.  Organic village programme will be extended and will be implemented in 240 acres in each Hobli under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojane. In view of increasing demand for organic manure, it is proposed to handover its manufacturing, certification and internal control by
APEDA identified agencies and marketing to non- Governmental organisations which are experts in this field and  to encourage them, a sum of Rs 100 crores is proposed.

22. Own Seed Development Scheme: As there is high demand by the farmers for good quality  seeds, it is necessary to encourage  production of certified seeds. For this purpose own seed development scheme will be implemented by seed production centres of
agriculture department in collaboration with various seed production corporations/boards/private farms of the State.  To encourage seed production in selected villages at Hobli level,  infrastructure facilities like fee concession for seed certification, construction of seed storage godowns, construction of threshing yards and equipments required for processing will be provided. Rs. 55 crores will be provided for this purpose.

25. Solar power pump sets : There are 18 lakh irrigation pump sets in the State and their electricity consumption is increasing. Karnataka Solar Energy Scheme will be formulated to make up for the shortage of electricity, to adopt modern technology and to install solar power based pump sets, where ever possible. Initially this scheme will be implemented in 4 districts (one each in every revenue division).  On the basis of its evaluation after implementation, Rs.50 crores will be provided in the first phase for extension to the other districts.

33. Development of vegetable gardens in schools to overcome malnutrition: To compensate for deficiency of vitamin A and B in the children of North Karnataka (especially in Gulbarga, Raichur, Koppal, Bidar, Bellary, Bijapur and Bagalkot districts) who are
suffering from malnutrition, it is proposed to grow fruits and vegetables in kitchen gardens, school gardens, community parks and such other places and supply to children.  About 50 lakh children will be benefitted at a cost of Rs.2.5 crore during the year 2013-14.

73. In order to provide necessary warehouse facilities and to enable farmers to get warehouse based loans, necessary infrastructure facilities will be provided in a scientific manner in 19 places of the State (Hubli, Bijapur, Raichur, Bidar, Gadag, Bagalkot, Sankeshwara, Ranebennur, Harihara, Davanagere, Challakere, Chitradurga, Bharamasagara, Gundlupet, Soraba, Chamarajanagar, Santemaranahalli, Mysore and Kollegala).

(2012-13 report)

• A web portal has been started in 2012-13 for online disposal of farmers’ subsidy applications and to avoid delay in the payment of subsidy. So far 11,820 applications have been received through the web portal.

వ్యవసాయ బడ్జెట్-2013-14 కు రైతు స్వరాజ్య వేదిక, సుస్థిర వ్యవసాయ కేంద్రం, అఖిల పక్ష రైతుసంఘాల ప్రతిపాదనలు

అనేక సంవత్సరాల పోరాటం తర్వాత, ఆంధ్ర ప్రదేశ్ రాష్ట్ర ప్రభుత్వం ప్రత్యెక వ్యవసాయ బడ్జెట్ ప్రవేశ పెట్టడానికి సుముఖత వ్యక్తం చేసింది.  అయితే ఈ వ్యవసాయ బడ్జెట్ కేవలం నిధులు కేటాయింపు గా మాత్రమే చూడకుండా, వ్యవసాయానికి దిశానిర్దేశం చేసే విధంగా వుండాలి అని కోరుతూ, సుస్థిర వ్యవసాయ కేంద్రం, అఖిల పక్ష రైతు సంఘాలు, ఏ.పి. రైతు స్వరాజ్య వేదిక ఆధ్వర్యం లో చర్చించి చేసిన ప్రతిపాదనలు.

121227 AP Agricultural Budget Proposal చదవండి.

Supreme Court appointed Technical Expert Committee Report and GM field trials

As you know, today we had a Roundtable of farmer unions and scientists on GM crops and latest Supreme Court expert committee report at Hyderabad, organized by Rythu Swarajya Vedika. I am attaching the photograph, Telugu press release, the summary of the Tech committee recommendations and summary of Parliamentary Standing Committee report. Main details in English are below.
The key participants were: Vadde Sobhanadreeswara Rao (former Agriculture Minister), Dr. G.V. Ramanjaneyulu (CSA), Prof. Aldaz Janaiah (ANGRAU Agricultural University), Dr.A.Prasad Rao (AP Rytu Sangham CPM), Kirankumar Vissa (Rytu Swarajya Vedika), Ravula Venkaiah & Pasya Padma (AP Rytu Sangham CPI), Gade Diwakar (AIKMS), Dr. D. Narasimha Reddy (policy analyst), Dr.Chandrasekhar K (former Director, Extension, ANGRAU), Venugopal Reddy (Telangana Kisan Samiti).
All the participants were unanimous in supporting the recommendations of the Expert committee to impose a moratorium on field trials of GM crops. They urged the Supreme Court to accept the expert committee report, and informed that they are sending the requests in writing on behalf of respective farmer unions. They asserted that GM crops need strong regulation and testing and it is dangerous to conduct field trials before biosafety is established. They also demanded that the biosafety testing be made more meaningful with long-term and inter-generational tests, and independent testing instead of depending on company data.
They were also very vocal in condemning the false and misleading statements by the biotech industry lobby, and some so-called farmer organizations which are acting as agents of biotech industry that Indian farmers will be at a big loss if GM crops are delayed. They asserted that GM crops should not be pushed in a hurry, and they are not indispensable for food security or farmers’ welfare.

Report of the Committee on Regulation of Sugar Sector in India: The Way Forward

D. Narasimha Reddy
1. The Committee mentions that sugar industry is has Rs.80,000 crore turnover, and hope that it would double to Rs.160,000 crore in the next four to five years. But this is not possible without farmers support and the benefits they should be seeing for themselves in such a growth. This Report does not mention how farmers would benefit from its recommendations.
2. The Report has conveniently ignored the industry of jaggery, which is a huge informal processing industry in India. Except a mention in one place, the Committee completely bypasses as a factor in balancing the farmers and consumers interests. It also ignored the consumption levels of sugarcane by this segment. Jaggery has helped the farmers in distress, due to failure of sugar industry and otherwise.
3. the committee has completely ignored the implications of their recommendations or expectations on increased consumption of water or electricity. A double growth, based on increased acreage under sugarcane, is possible only with increased irrigation facilities. Or ground water. Same is the case with electricity, as the Committee looks forward to more capital intensive sugar production. It has not estimated availability or factors which can play a role in such availability, and the cost implications on environment, economy, farmers and people.
4. The committee recommends withdrawal Jute Packaging Order, for packing sugar, on the sugar mills. this will have a serious negative impact on jute industry and the employment therein. Environmental implications of higher usage of poly-bags for sugar packing is another hazard. Further, there is likelihood of contamination as sugar may get packed in recycled poly-bags, from non-food, hazardous packaged products. At a rate of 40 paise per kilo, the load of jute is not higher, or unreasonable.
5. The committee says cost of conversion from sugarcane to sugar will decrease with increase in capacity, bringing up size as an issue. thus, the committee is recommending for higher capacity sugar mills, favouring phasing out of small khandsari, cooperative and probably even private mills. With liberal FDI policies, it is likely that the Committee is expecting FDI flows into sugar industry as well, with stress on modernisation.
6. The Committee bases most of its recommendations on avoiding what is sees as cyclical problems in sugar industry. It laments that such cyclical volatality is affecting the profits of sugar industry, and goes on to recommend dereservation of cane area, decontrol of price regulation and encouragement of exports. However, the Committee has largely ignored the resultant volatility on remuneration price for farmers. as it is with regulatory framework, including State Advisory price, levy, etc. farmers are not getting proper prices for their produce. With decontrol, farmers are likely to be further short-changed.
7. The committee also recommends a value-sharing ratio of 70:30 for remuneration to farmers, based on its calculations of costs, at each level. However, these calculations show that cost incurred by farmers is 69 percent of total cost of conversion of sugarcane to sugar. Thus, the committee is saying farmers can take only the cost they incur and not more from sugarcane. In addition, it says industry should provide benefits to farmers in by-products, such as molasses, in the same ratio. While this appears rational on paper, in practice, who and how the government ensures that mills pay farmers in such a ratio is not laid down by the Committee.
With the mechanism of State Advisory Price not responding to farmers needs, with legal framework, i would be well nigh impossible for farmers to get better prices from the sugar industry voluntarily, in the absence of such a framework. Instead of recommending a better regulatory framework, the Committee expects lack of it of will help farmers – an optimism that would shared by a very people.
8. the committee has not included cogeneration (of electricity) in value sharing ratio. Cogeneration is also a byproduct of sugar industry and needs to be shared as well with the farmers.
9. This is a Committee of economists. Yet the committee recommends incineration of spent wash, without understanding or analysing the implications of such a recommendation on environment and costs.
10. The timing and content of the report is linked with other economic liberal policies announced by the government, especially in foreign trade, investment, taxes, etc., which means that this is a report to suit the larger direction of economy and economic policies, and not suited to sugar industry, and definitely not the sugarcane farmers.
12. Dereservation of cane area is likely to increase the vulnerability of sugarcane farmers to the machinations of individual sugar mills and their syndicate behaviour.
13. While the committee recommends ‘free’ foreign trade in sugar, yet it recommends higher tariffs to protect domestic industry. If efficiency lies in competition, the bias of the Committee towards sugar industry is apparent. The same bias is not shows for sugarcane farmers.
14. the Committee has not consulted representatives sugarcane farmers and their unions, while it did elaborate consultations with the sugar industry. It also consulted three Chief Ministers, and not Andhra Pradesh, which has significant sugarcane production and processing.

Guidelines for taking up Mini Hydel Schemes on Irrigation Canals, Head Regulators, Streams and Vagus

As you may be knowing, the Andhra Pradesh Irrigation and CAD Department issued:“Guidelines for taking up Mini Hydel Schemes on Irrigation Canals, Head Regulators, Streams and Vagus”(Please see:http://irrigation.ap.gov.in/Mini_Hydel-approved_Minutes-28.06.2012.doc) sometime in June/July this year.

The guidelines, though exhaustive, make no mention of social and ecological impacts of Mini Hydel Projects (Hydel projects upto 25 MW), which are huge. Please find attached a letter we have drafted, addressed to the Engineer-in-Chief, Irrigation and CAD Department, AP, which elaborates the impacts of Mini Hydel Projects and the need to regulate the sector, prior to sanctioning such projects. As we have seen in Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh, once the sanctioning process starts, hundreds of MHPs are set up on rivers, streams and canals severely affecting ecosystems and local communities, who have no say in the process.
If you agree with the points raised in the letter, please send us your endorsement ( name and organistion, if desired) by tomorrow, 18 September, Noon. Unfortunately, the commenting period got over on 7th August 2012, but we think we should still send in a representation.
Alternatively, you can directly send in your comments to : Engineer-in-Chief (Irrigation), 2nd floor , Jalasoudha, Errummanzil, Hyderabad- 82 , Email Id : enc_major@yahoo.co.in.

Seed Bill: Analysis and suggestions by CSA

SEED BILL 2010 an analytical view

Central Government is trying to bring in a new seed bill replacing the existing Seed Act 1966 and Seed Control Order 1983  The first draft was released in 2004 and after the suggestions from various groups and parliamentary standing committee were taken into account a new draft was released in 2010.

Earlier Minister for Agriculture Raghuveera Reddy led a deligation to meet Sharad Pawar and Manmohan singh

While the centre has agreed on several suggestions but now it got stuck at a point of ‘State having powers to regulate prices and royalties over seeds’  Sharad Pawar is adamant and not agreeing on that.

Please find enclosed our analysis and suggestions