It would include a Rs 100-crore pilot project to introduce solar pump sets
The Andhra Pradesh government is planning to go for an exclusive budget for agriculture and allied sectors like horticulture, sericulture, animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries from the 2013-14 fiscal. The proposal, which has already being given a green signal by the finance department, is under the consideration of chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy.
The chief minister is keen on the proposal, says state agriculture minister Kanna Lakshminarayana. “The state’s economy primarily depends on agriculture, and we want to give more thrust to agriculture and allied sectors,” he adds. According to Lakshminarayana, a separate budget and appropriate financial allocations will give more focus to the sectors. Most of the farmers in the state have small holdings, and unless more thrust is given, it would be difficult to sustain agriculture, he says. He also points out that there is need for a corpus fund to help farmers when minimum support prices go down.
The proposal for a separate budget is based on the recommendations of a Cabinet sub-committee headed by the agriculture minister. It is in the line with Karnataka’s separate budget for agriculture. A team from Andhra Pradesh had visited Karnataka in November last year. According to the agriculture department officials, Rs 3,500 crore will be required for agriculture alone. Putting together the allied sectors and irrigation, the separate budget might come around Rs 20,000 crore.
Considering the power crisis in the state, the agriculture department has made a proposal to introduce solar energy pump sets for farmers. The cost of this project has been put at Rs 100 crore. The cost of each pump set is expected to be Rs 4 to 6 lakh. The programme will be implemented as a pilot project in three to four districts.
The state finance minister Ramanarayana Reddy has stated that 50 per cent of the cost of the solar pump sets would be subsidised (30 per cent by the Centre and 20 per cent by the state) while the remaining cost would be borne by the beneficiaries through bank loans.
To finalise the proposal and for sector-wise budget allocations, the state government will appoint a coordination committee. The ministers, principal secretaries and commissioners of the concerned sectors are expected to be members of the committee.