The ruling TRS in Telangana today passed a resolution at its plenary meeting here urging the Centre to link the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) with agriculture. Farmers were facing shortage of labourers due to NREGA during the agricultural season, TRS president and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said.
“We see a situation today that workers are not available for farming during season. NREGA scheme, though it helped the poor to some extent, is causing some inconvenience. Farmers are facing trouble during agricultural season because of NREGA,” said Rao, who moved the resolution. “I will emphatically convey this to the Prime Minister at NITI Ayog meeting on April 23,” he said.
In his opening speech at the day-long meeting, Rao announced a new scheme where the state government would give Rs 4,000 per acre to farmers during Kharif and Rabi seasons. Noting that 97 per cent of farmers hold less than 10 acres of land, he said the scheme would be extended to all the farmers in the state.
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Observing that there are associations for other professionals or tradesmen but not for farmers, Rao said the state government would organise farmers into `societies’. Farmers’ societies would be formed at the village, mandal, district and state level, he said. The state-level farmers’ federation would be provided with seed capital of Rs 500 crore in the next budget, he said.
“One or two rupees” would be collected from farmers and together with the funds provided by the government, the total fund should be to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore in two or three years, he said.
Farmers’ societies would negotiate with traders for selling the farm produce, and the farmers need not sell their produce individually, he said.
The federation of farmers would look into cultivation of crops and the quantity to be produced so that there is no excess production, Rao said, adding his goal was to “make farmer the king”.