The Federation of Farmers' Associations of Delta Districts has expressed “serious disappointment” over the Tamil Nadu budget.
Aarupathi P.Kalyanam, State general secretary of the federation, told The Hindu that six lakh farmers who have been left out by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in her announcement of compensation for delta farmers had been hoping to get some relief in the budget. Though the State government did mention these six lakh farmers in its submission to the Supreme Court as suffering serious loss due to drought, it did not bother to provide them anything. Adding insult to injury, while it initially said that the compensation announced was for 1.75 lakh farmers, the budget says the same amount is being distributed for 3.21 lakh agriculturists. “Thus there is nothing in the budget to mitigate the misery of the drought-affected farmers,” he said. If the State government were to fail to come out with any relief announcements, it might trigger suicides once again in the delta region, he said.
Mr. Kalyanam said it had been the demand of farmers that agriculture should be allocated 20 per cent of the total budget. Of this, 10 per cent could be used for farmers' welfare and the rest for production. But hardly five percent has been earmarked in the current budget.
Above all, even the National Commission for Agriculture recommended as early as 2006 that 50 per cent over and above the cost of cultivation should be the minimum support price for various agricultural commodities. Then Ms. Jayalalithaa , who was in the opposition, endorsed this view. But this issue had totally been lost sight of in the current budget.
The State government's continued dependence on the revenue from liquor has ruined the rural economy and womenfolk are in tears, he lamented.