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In what political observers see as a climbdown for the TRS government which prides on the slew of pioneering reforms it introduced in the farm sector, including those copied by some other states but in conflict with the Centre’s modified farm policies, the State government on Sunday hinted at following the recently enacted controversial farm laws.

At a review meeting chaired by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao at Pragathi Bhavan, the consensus was the “there is no need for the state government to set up village-level procurement centres to procure foodgrains from farmers directly, considering the Centre’s new agri laws that allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.

Besides, the state government suffered Rs 7,500 crore ‘loss’ by procuring various crops directly from farmers at MSP, it was placed on record. The meeting also favoured scrapping of the ‘government regulated farming policy’ and leave the choice of growing crops to famers.

The state government has been procuring foodgrains from the farmers directly at village level since April this year in view of corona-lockdown period and subsequent curbs.

The decision to scrap regulated farming policy enforced from Kharif this year is being viewed as the result of farmers suffering huge losses in Kharif this year, following the advisory of the government to cultivate fine variety rice as there are no takers for their produce at MSP.
An extensive discussion took place at the meeting on purchase of various crops, regulated farming policy, sale and purchase of agriculture produce in the markets, responsibilities of the Rythu Bandhu Samithies, utilisation of Rythu Vedikas, keeping the required seeds and fertilisers in adequate quantity available on time, transfer of the required technology knowledge to the farmers and other related issues.

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Ministers KT Rama Rao, S Niranjan Reddy, Rythu Bandhu state president Palla Rajeshwar Reddy, State Planning Commission vice chairman Vinod Kumar, Government’s Chief Advisor Rajiv Sharma, Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar, Principal Secretary (Agriculture) Janardhan Reddy and others participated.

“Due to the Corona pandemic, the government had set up purchasing centres in the village itself and purchased the agriculture produce on a humanitarian consideration that farmers should not suffer losses. It is not possible to do the same thing every time. The government is not a business organisation or trader. It is not a rice miller or a Dal miller. Sale and purchase is not the responsibility of government. It is not possible to set up purchase centre in the village from next year onwards.

The new farm laws being implemented in the country allow the farmers to sell their crop anywhere. Hence, the state government need not set purchase centre in the villages and as there is no need. But sale and purchase at the agriculture markets should be done properly. Farmers should not get their produce at one time to the markets; instead, they should get them in phased manner and on turns.

“Rythu Bandhu Samithies, Marketing Committees, Agriculture extension officers should work in coordination and decide which village of the produce should come to market on which day and issue tokens accordingly. It will be convenient for the farmers to get his produce on the appointed day. Implement this policy strictly,” the participants at the review meeting unanimously stated, according to a press release issued by the CMO on Sunday.

The officials said that ever since the Telangana State was formed, the government had incurred heavy losses due to purchase of various crops by the state government. Till date the government had incurred losses to the tune of Rs 7,500 crore due to the purchase of paddy, sorghum, maize, red gram, Bengal gram and sunflower. Though the government had purchased these agriculture produce by paying the Minimum Support Price (MSP), it had to sell them at the lower prices in the market, as there was no demand for these crops. They said the same situation is cropping up every year.

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Giving the break-up, they said the government suffered loss of Rs 3,935 crore on purchase of paddy , Rs 1,547.59 crore on corn, Rs 52.78 croreon sorghum, Rs 413.48 crore on redgram, Rs 52.47 crore on Red sorghum, Rs 9.23 croreon black gram, Rs 108.07 crore on Bengal gram and Rs 14.25 crore on sunflower. Besides this, wages paid to Hamalis and other administrative expenses contributed significantly to the total loss of Rs 7,500 crore, the officials explained.

“Agriculture is being extended rapidly in the Telangana State. The Agriculture Department is doing many works. The agriculture officers have many responsibilities to manage. The agriculture officers are monitoring extending financial assistance through Rythu Bandhu twice a year. They have to implement Rythu Bhima strictly. When the Rythu Bhima scheme started Rs 630 crore was paid as the installment.

But many farmers have registered their land among their family members so that they are all covered by the Rythu Bhima policy. Hence, the number swelled. The premium doubled and the year’s installment is Rs 1,144 crore. But yet the state government has decided to continue the scheme. Agriculture officers are monitoring the Rythu Bhima policy implementation. 24×7 free power supply should also be continued. The officers have to ensure that the farmers are getting the quality seed, fertilisers, and pesticides.

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They have to identify the spurious seeds, fertilisers, and pesticides and control them. They have to develop new variety of seeds. They have to take modern techonology to the farmers. Since there is a steep increase in the availability of irrigation water, cultivation also increased. The Agriculture Department had to do many works and they have to monitor them with dedication and commitment,” the review meeting opined.

“Rythu Vedikas are being constructed all over the State. Farmers and officers should meet regularly at the Vedikas. They should discuss and decided on which crops they should cultivate based on the market conditions. They have to formulate strategies from time to time on how to get the MSP. Henceforth, it is better if the State government stops advising the farmers on what crops they should cultivate and where? The government should forthwith stop issuing guidelines on the crops to be cultivated. There is no need for regulatory farming policy. Farmers should decide by themselves what crops they should cultivate. They should sell their produce wherever it gets a more price. And this policy is good,” the meeting extensively opined.

Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao declared that all the farmers in the State would be given financial assistance under Rythu Bandhu Scheme from Monday (Dec 28). The CM announced that Rs 7,515 crore financial assistance is given to 1.52 crore acres of the cultivated land of 61.49 lakh farmers at the rate of Rs 5,000 per acre for the 2020 summer season.

The CM has instructed the officials concerned to ensure that every farmer gets the financial assistance in his bank account directly for each acre. #KhabarLive #hydnews

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