Schemes galore as Tamil Nadu presents first agriculture budget
The DMK government in Tamil Nadu has hiked the minimum support price (MSP) for ‘A’ grade paddy by Rs 100 per quintal (Rs 2,060 now) and Rs 75 for common grade paddy (Rs 2,015 now).
Tamil Nadu’s first ever agricultural budget is dedicated to farmers protesting against Union government’s three farm laws, said state agriculture minister MRK Panneerselvam in the assembly on Saturday (August 14).
The minister said the budget was prepared after consulting farmers from 18 districts of the state and it aims to increase the cultivable land from current 60 per cent to 75 per cent. At present, about 10 lakh hectare land is under cultivation and the budget promises to increase it to 11.75 lakh hectare.
A new scheme, ‘Kalaignarin Anaithu Grama Orunginaindha Velan Valarchi Thittam’, has been introduced to convert wasteland into cultivable land.
Palm tree gets special mention in budget
The state tree, Palmyra, has got special attention. Agriculture minister MRK Panneerselvam said the government will distribute about 76 lakh palm seeds and one lakh saplings in 30 districts during the current year. To protect the state tree, the minister said that now it is mandatory to seek the district collector’s permission before felling any palm tree.
To develop entrepreneurship, the budget has made a provision to distribute palm jaggery through the public distribution system.
Organic farming gets a boost
A traditional paddy varieties conservation mission will be set up in memory of Nel Jayaraman, a farmer who preserved numerous traditional rice varieties.
A separate organic farming wing will be set up under the agriculture department. “Farmers who adopt organic methods of cultivation will be given input subsidy. The noble project of ‘Organic Farming Development Scheme’ will be implemented during the current year,” read the budget speech.
Similarly, the government has launched ‘Millet Mission’ with special focus on low rainfall districts such as Cuddalore, Villupuram, Kallakuruchi, Vellore and Tirupathur.
The budget has also promised that cooperative societies will procure minor millet rice and distribute it through public distribution system in cities like Chennai and Coimbatore.
At a time when sugarcane growers are yet to get their outstanding dues from sugar mills, the state government has promised to pay Rs 42.50 per tonne to the sugarcane farmers as an incentive during the current crushing season. A budget of Rs 40 crore has been allocated to implement the scheme.
To effectively utilize solar energy, a Chief Minister’s Solar Powered Pumpset Scheme has been introduced for farmers. Under the scheme, a total of 5,000 solar pumpsets of 10 horse power capacity each, will be installed with 70 percent subsidy during the current year. An allocation of Rs 114.68 crore has been made for the purpose.
In addition, 1,000 farmers who own less than three acres of land will get a subsidy assistance of Rs 10,000 for purchasing new motor pumpsets or replacing the old inefficient ones. For this, a budget of Rs 1 crore has been allocated.