Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Rythu Samanvaya Samithis and the way forward : Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao

Rythu Samanvaya Samithis 
and the way forward
Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao
Telangana is essentially an agriculture-based state. Majority of the people depend for their livelihood on agriculture and allied sectors. However, due to criminal negligence of the erstwhile AP Governments, the Telangana farmers were subjected to untold miseries, losses and hardships. A vicious carelessness and discrimination continued unabated in the irrigation waterfront. None of the proposed irrigation projects could be completed. Water did not reach the proposed Ayucut. Not only the proposed projects were not completed but also thousands of Tanks were destroyed. At the time of Andhra Pradesh formation, 15 lakh acres were irrigated through the Tanks, 2 lakh acres under medium irrigation schemes and 3 lakh acres under major irrigation projects, totaling 20 lakh acres.
Due to sheer negligence under the united AP rule, the proposed projects were abandoned half-way through. The Ayacut of 20 Lakh acres steadily was reduced. In the absence of the assured water for irrigation, farmers in Telangana had no option but to depend on the ground water. They had to invest their personal savings to the tune of Rs 30,000 Crore to dig 23 Lakh borewells all over the state. Since the agriculture was solely dependent on the borewells, the ground water depleted beyond limits. The power required to draw water from borewells was inadequate. With a meagre 2 to 3 hours power supply per day, and that too, without any quality, the farming community was put to severe agony. The farmers were pushed into financial crisis as their crops withered away. They also suffered due to the non-availability of quality seed and fertilisers. Notwithstanding all this the little crop that the farmers could produce did not fetch the MSP. This led to total devastation of the farming community. That was the situation prevailed before the formation of Telangana.
With the formation of Telangana State, the government resolved to revive and rejuvenate the farm sector and to make agriculture a profitable endeavor. An action plan was drawn and is being implemented. To make farming a festive movement but not a losing occupation, the government has decided to organize the farmers. The government is of the firm view that measures like, supplying water to the farming sector, 24x7 quality and uninterrupted power supply, implementing scientific techniques to improve the yields, timely supply of quality seeds and fertilizers, organizing crop colonies based on the soil conditions, paving way to the farmers produce to reach markets in a systematic manner, ensuring MSP to the farmers and providing input assistance to farmers will make farming as a profitable profession.
To realize this, government decided to organize farmers as a cohesive force. The Rythu Samanvaya Samithis are formed for this very reason. The government has decided to form the Samithis at the Village, Mandal, District and State level. Village and Mandal Samithis have already been formed. Awareness programmes are conducted by the Agriculture department to these Samithis.
Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao participating in a short discussion in the state Assembly has reiterated that the Farmers Coordination Committees (Rythu Samanvaya Samithis) are being organized for the welfare of the farmers. He said that the government will not give even a rupee to the members of the Rythu Samanvaya Samithis and the members should pilot the entire process from sowing to selling the produce. The CM also made it crystal clear that the in the Samithis the TRS workers, who without any power, without eating proper food, often surviving even without food and waged a fight for 14 years to achieve Telangana State will be members. The CM clarified that these very TRS workers will now take part in the reconstruction of the Telangana State and shall be there in the Rythu Samanvaya Samithis, come what may.

The CM further said that when a farmer takes his Paddy to the market, even if he does not get the MSP, he is selling it at the lower price as he cannot take the paddy back home and this getting exploited. To remove this injustice the Samithis are formed. The Mandal level Samithis will undertake tow jobs. First it will inquire with the traders and agents in the markets whether they are ready to give the MSP. If the answer is no, the Samithi will buy and sell the produce. The State level Samithi will be ready with the bank guarantee or funds to buy paddy coming from anywhere in the state, the CM said.
The CM said the farmers would be anxious to sell his produce as early as possible. He said that, nobody knows when and why a farmer sells his produce. When the entire produce floods the markets, sometimes there is no place to put them and often even the gunny bags required will not be there. The members of the Samithis will find out how many villages are there, how much is the yield, how much capacity of produce the market yard can handle per day, how many Hamalis are there etc. Based on this the Samithi members will inform the farmers to come with their produce to the market in phases. Like this the produce is sold in the market spreading over 10 days. The Samithis will play a key role from supplying the seeds to selling the produce at MSP. The Samithi members will not have any salaries, not even a chair, they will not involve in the land records purification, they will not poke their nose in Pattaadar Passbooks and they will not interfere in any process the CM clarified. The CM also said that the government will appoint people in the Samithis who have an understanding about the government policies and who have commitment.
At every stage the Samanvaya Samithis will coordinate the farmers right from supplying seeds to getting the MSP. The Samithi members will act as bridges between the farmers and officials and help them in the process of forming crop colonies, imparting new scientific methods, ensuring timely supply of the seed and fertilizers and ensuring the MSP after talking to the officials and traders and other related issues. The Samithis will play a key role in all the measures taken by the government to make agriculture profitable. The government is also of the firm view that by making farmers realize their organized potential, wonderful results can be achieved. The Government is hopeful that the farmers and members of their families would lead a comfortable and happy life as there would be bountiful crop if the necessary cooperation is extended to them.
Besides this, the government is appointing one Agriculture Extension Officer per every 5000 Acres, which will be a cluster and Farmers meeting place. Mandal Agriculture Officers are trained to be Agronomists. The state government has also decided to give Rs. 8000 at the rate Rs 4,000 per acre for two crops as an input assistance. During the Monsoon and summer this amount will be directly deposited in the bank accounts of farmers. After the land records purification, updating and rectification exact extent of land eligible for in-put subsidy and details on farmers’ holdings will be known. There will be a clarity on how much each farmer needs. Based on this in the 2018 Budget adequate budgetary provision shall be made to the agriculture department.
The CM while participating in the short discussion in the Assembly said, in all the 5000 Clusters, there will be dais for the farmers and officials to have their meetings and interaction and they will be constructed at a cost of Rs 350 crore. 2638 Agriculture Extension Officers are appointed per one officer per 5000 Acres Cluster and mandal Agriculture Officers are trained to act as Agronomists. We have about 1000 important officers and they will be sent to Israel in 100-200 groups and farmers to get their training in micro irrigation.
The CM said his government’s top priority is farmer. “The original farmer has been thrown in the air and now you want me to talk about the tenant farmer. Tenant Act is very dangerous. A farmer will not mind sacrificing his life than losing the land, which he inherited from his elders. There is an emotional bonding to the land. How can anyone lose the land, which held so closely to heart based on some Act? Having land is a fundamental right. The relationship that exists between farmer and tenant is their personal. Tenant farmers are not permanent. If land is given on tenancy, the same can be given to others if fee is increased. Under the pretext of Tenant Act, the original owner should not be put to loss. We will protect the original landowner and how can government extend financial assistance to a tenant farmer? The owner should pass on the benefit to the tenant. Why should government interfere in this?”.

(Source….Short Discussion in Assembly on 13th November 2017)

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