Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy has reiterated the commitment of the State Government to welfare of farmers.

Addressing the gathering after inaugurating a Rythu Sadassu here on Thursday, he said that the Sadassus were meant to provide an interface between scientists and farmers and help the latter in adopting the latest techniques to improve production.

He outlined the various development schemes launched by the Congress Government in the State since 2004.

He said the State Government was pursuing the demand for getting ‘national project' status to Polavaram. The Centre would bear 90 per cent of the funds for the project, if it was accorded ‘national status.'

Referring to the loss suffered by farmers during the kharif, Mr. Reddy said the input subsidy was hiked from Rs.1,500 to Rs.6000 per hectare.

He said 38 of the 43 mandals in the district had been declared ‘rain-affected'. A total of 1.25 lakh farmers in the district were being given input subsidy to the tune of Rs.18 crores. The Chief Minister, however, said this year the State had received a bumper crop as never before with the production of 207 MTs of food grains during the rabi season.

He said the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of paddy which was Rs.590 a quintal when the Congress Government came to power in the State in 2004 was hiked to Rs.1,030 per quintal recently. He said that the MSP increased from Rs.520 in 1994 to Rs.590 a quintal in 2004 when the Telugu Desam was in power in the State.

Mr. Reddy said the AP Land Licensed Cultivators Ordinance 2011 promulgated on Wednesday was a major relief to tenant farmers as they were now eligible for all the benefits such as crop loans and input subsidy that were presently restricted to pattadars.

He said an additional Rs.7,000 crores was introduced in the budget under the Employment Assurance Scheme for digging up of one lakh bore wells in lands belonging to SC/ST farmers to provide irrigation facilities to them in the next two years. He said that the State Government has waived off loans to the tune of Rs.650 crores during the last kharif season.

Turning towards the large number of women, the Chief Minister said that the Government has decided to provide 50 per cent reservation to women in the forthcoming elections to local bodies.

Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development D. Purandesari and Minister for Tribal Welfare P. Balaraju spoke.

Pendurthy MLA Panchakarla Ramesh Babu presided.

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