Floor leader of the Janata Dal (Secular) in the Legislative Assembly H.D. Revanna on Thursday urged the Government to provide 50 per cent subsidy for all farm inputs, in the light of drought in the State.
Speaking on the demands for grants of the various departments, the former Minister said that nearly 75 per cent of farmland in the State, in 140 taluks, were facing drought. The Government has to provide relief, he said. While a waiver of farm loans deserves appreciation, providing a subsidy for farm inputs such as seeds and fertilizers will enable farmers to take up sowing as and when rainfall resumes, he said.
Mr. Revanna said that the Government should merge or suspend several of the agricultural schemes which are directly not beneficial to farmers and instead focus on schemes which provide for immediate assistance, be it supply of seeds and fertilizers or in marketing farm produce.
Of the 24 agricultural schemes in operation, nearly a half of them can be merged with the others as most of the schemes were only “money spinners” working to the benefit of those implementing them. The focus now should be on strengthening market intervention schemes and ensuring that farmers receive remunerative price as their produce as such will be limited during the kharif season.
He said that it is unfortunate that most of the posts in the departments of Agriculture and Horticulture and in the Universities of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore and Dharwad have remained vacant for years.
There are 17 agricultural colleges in the jurisdiction of the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, and of the 1,900 posts, nearly 850 have been vacant. Similarly, in the UAS Dharwad, of the 1,750 posts, there are 700 vacancies.
The Janata Dal (S) leader said that 95 per cent of students pursuing studies in agriculture, horticulture and allied subjects hailed from farming families and with such a big number of vacant positions in the universities, the quality of education that is imparted will obviously stand to suffer.
“I cannot understand the reason for such a high number of vacancies. The government should immediately intervene and provide the requisite funds,” he added. The agriculture policy announced by the Janata Dal(S)-BJP coalition Government in 2006 (by then Minister for Agriculture Bandeppa Kashempur), which was the only one of its kind in the country and which drew the appreciation of the Prime Minister, has remained on paper. It is unfortunate that there is no focus on agriculture and allied activities, he said.
On the sericulture sector, Mr. Revanna said that the Union government is yet to provide assistance to sericulture farmers in the State. He said that members, cutting across party lines, should extend support to sericulture farmers.