In keeping with its election promise, the DMK government presented a budget in the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Saturday that was entirely dedicated to agriculture and included schemes for the overall development of the agriculture and its allied sectors, including one for self-sufficiency and farming growth in villages of the state.
M R K Panneerselvam, Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, presented the budget and stated that the views of farmers and experts were sought and the budget was prepared based on their input. ‘Farmers’ aspirations are reflected in the agriculture budget. It is every nature lover’s dream.’
This is the first time in Tamil Nadu that a separate budget for agriculture has been presented. Agriculture and Allied sectors such as animal husbandry, fisheries, dairy development, irrigation, rural development, sericulture, and forest will receive ₹ 34,220.65 crores during 2021-2022, he said.
According to the Agri Minister, a total sum of ₹ 4,508.23 crores has been assigned to the state-run electricity entity, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation, for the provision of free electricity to farm water pump sets.
‘It is proposed to declare this area as an agro-industrial corridor’ to promote agro-based industries, he said, in order to bring prosperity to farmers and farm laborers in the Cauvery delta region.
The Cauvery delta region was designated as a protected agricultural zone by the previous AIADMK government. According to the Minister, rice, pulses, bananas, and coconuts are grown throughout the year in areas such as Thanjavur.
He believes that promoting rice and oil mills, coir units, and pulse processing units (which use agricultural products from this region to produce value-added products) would greatly benefit the welfare of delta farmers and farmworkers.
The minister further stated that a scheme worth ₹ 1,245.45 crores would be implemented to ensure overall Agri and allied sectors’ development and self-sufficiency in all villages of the state.
This scheme, going to name after former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi (Kalaignarin Anaithu Grama Orunginaintha Velaan Valarchi Thittam), he said, would be implemented in 2,500 village panchayats this fiscal year (2021-22).
Each year, one-fifth of Tamil Nadu’s 12,524 village panchayats will be identified, and the scheme will be implemented in all panchayat areas within five years.
The scheme’s goals include cultivating fallow lands, increasing water resources, installing solar-powered pump sets, marketing value-added farm produce, implementing micro-irrigation, and increasing milk production.
The Chief Minister’s Dry Land Development Mission, which aims to increase farmer income (through rainfed farming), will be implemented on three lakh hectares, he said. The ‘Organic farming development scheme’ would be enacted at a total cost of ₹ 33.03 crores to promote organic farming.
Organic farming inputs would be made available in Agricultural Extension Centres, and farms would be certified as organic as part of the scheme’s various measures, he said.