‘Go to villages’ seems to be the motto of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi government in the run-up to the next elections to the State Legislative Assembly.
Of late, harping on strengthening rural economy has become the hallmark of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s speeches. This is also evident in the speech he delivered on Friday while launching the Telangana Formation Day celebrations.
“I call upon the farmers to become partners with commitment in the programmes being implemented by the State Government, which no other government ever did in the country,” Mr Rao said during his speech.
A bold statement in the light of the Opposition parties’ criticism that his government had done precious little to the farm sector and hence 2,855 farmers had committed suicide in the State in the last three years.
Making it profitable
However, justifying his contention, Mr. Rao said that his government had a “meticulous plan” to make agriculture profitable.
The plan of action involved organising farmers on one platform, providing water by completing irrigation projects, giving Rs. 8,000 input costs for two crops per acre, supplying uninterrupted power, creating crop colonies and ensuring minimum support price (MSP).
As part of this plan, farmers federations will be established right from village to the mandal and State level. They will help the farmers get better yield and MSP for their produce. A corpus fund of Rs. 500 crore would be given to them to intervene in the market when prices are low.
The concept of a corpus fund appears to have been floated by the Chief Minister as the year has witnessed widespread protests by farmers due to a sudden slum in the prices of pulses, turmeric and chilli.
Ironically, some of the farmers shifted to cultivation of red gram following the advice of the State Government. Nevertheless, Mr. Rao blamed the united AP rule for the crisis in the agricultural sector. “In the past, farmers had to suffer for seeds and fertilizers. The Telangana State government is keeping the seeds and fertilizers and stocked them beforehand to make them available at the doorstep of farmers. Now, there is no scarcity of seed and fertilizer,” he pointed out.
Apart from the agricultural sector, the Chief Minister is focusing on encouraging hereditary professions in the rural areas.
He has announced various schemes for the promotion of sheep farming, pisciculture, handlooms sector, toddy tapping and hair dressing, among other things.
According to Mr Rao, “We can achieve wonderful results if only we utilise the human resource available in villages.” Maybe, this is applicable not only to the State but also to his party.