In the first major step towards fulfilling its poll promises, the Telugu Desam Party-led Andhra Pradesh Government on Friday allocated Rs 5,000 crores for crop loan waiver.
“The government has taken a brave step by going ahead with the loan waiver for farmers despite starting off with a revenue deficit. Rs 5,000 crore has be allocated for crop loan waiver.
The government has also decided that crop loan interest for loan between Rs.1 lakh- Rs.3 lakh would be 25 paise if repaid in time and will be continued. Taking a step further, the government has said farmers can avail interest-free loans for crop loans below Rs 1 lakh,’’ said minister for agriculture, marketing and animal husbandry Prathipati Pulla Rao.
Unveiling AP Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu’s vision to make agriculture a profitable and sustainable vocation, Rao presented the state’s first agriculture budget after bifurcation, in the Legislative Assembly on Friday. The state government has allocated Rs 3,188 crore for power subsidy to farmers for the year 2014-15. It is proposed that every year 10,000 new solar pump sets will be installed in a phased manner in the next five years.
In a boost to universities, the state government has allocated Rs 192.92 crore for Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University; Horticulture University got an outlay of Rs 30.61 crore for 2014-15, and the budget for Veterinary University at Tirupati is Rs 112.80 crore.
A budget of Rs 212 crore has been allocated for 2014-15 for popularizing better seed varieties and supply of certified seeds on subsidy to farmers. In order to modernize agriculture by using best machinery and for setting up different agri-related service centres, the government has allocated Rs 90 crore. Given that Andhra Pradesh has inherited crisis-ridden agriculture sector from the previous government, Pulla Rao said that the government has estimated the total agriculture budget to be Rs 13,110.39 crore.
Of this, the plan outlay for agriculture and allied activities stands at Rs 6,736.44 crore and non-plan expenditure at Rs 6,373.95 crore. The state government is partnering with ICRISAT and other institutions for soil health management through Bhuchetna programme.