As the Telangana government is gearing up for its new farm regulating policy for the upcoming vaanakalam (Kharif) season under which the government will direct farmers on crop cultivation patterns, farmers’ unions are arguing that the policy can be started in the the next crop season as farmers are not prepared for the changes.
Earlier this month, while addressing a press conference, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao announced that the state government will implement a market demand-based regulated farming from the upcoming vaanakalam season for increasing farmers’ profitability. The CM stated that the government decided to take up different varieties of paddy cultivation in 50 lakh acres, cotton crop in another 50 lakh acres and red gram in another 10 lakh acres.
“The state government would extend Rythu Bandhu benefits and ensure Minimum Support Price (MSP) only to farmers who follow the directions of the State government, Rao said. Under the Rythu Bandhu Scheme, Rs 10,000 per acre per year are being disbursed to the farmers as income support for farming.
The government did not consult with any farmers’ groups before making the announcement on the new policy, says T Sagar, general secretary of state All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) unit. “At a time when many farmers have already decided on which crop they will cultivate for the Kharif season, the government is forcing them with the new policy. Besides, the government has not conducted soil tests across districts to determine which land is suitable for which crop, which is crucial before directing farmers about cropping patterns,” Sagar told NewsClick.
Reportedly, the state authorities are undertaking district-wise surveys for the implementation of the new policy. The CM has also announced to set up a new Seed Regulatory Authority in the state that will ensure only seeds of crops identified by the government are sold.
“Instead of hurrying to implement the new regulations, the government needs to build the necessary infrastructure such as mandal level soil testing labs and set up a price commission that decides minimum support price for crops for the season. For preparing all this, the government would require more time and the regulation can begin from the next Rabi season or after six months,” said Sagar.
Opposition parties including Congress are demanding the government to postpone the regulation for at least one year. State Congress President Uttam Kumar Reddy told a press conference that it is “unethical” on part of the CM to threaten to stop the financial assistance under Rythu Bandhu for farmers if they do not follow the regulations.
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