HYDERABAD: The Government plans to come out with a policy before the next kharif to provide 10 per cent bonus to farmers on their agricultural yield in order to boost their incomes.

This was declared by Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy in the Assembly on Monday while piloting a resolution hailing the Centre for the debt relief package for farmers announced in the Union Budget for 2008-09. He said the Government wanted to cover all the farmers. A similar resolution was adopted unanimously in the Council.

He said the total value of the produce, including horticulture, was expected to be around Rs.33,000 crore and the Government was thinking of giving back around 10 per cent to farmers, including tenants.

Details of the policy are yet to be finalised. A regulatory body would decide the extent of bonus to be given for each crop. The bonus would be based on the bill pertaining to the sale of the produce to the market committee, factory or trader.

Revolutionary

Describing the proposed bonus as “revolutionary”, Dr. Reddy outlined the measures taken by both the Central and State Governments in the last four years to improve the lot of agriculturists. Around Rs.12,000 crore was expected to be waived from about 60 lakh farmers in the State under the relief package announced by Finance Minister P.Chidambaram.

The resolution, which was adopted, expressed gratitude to the Centre for announcing the package. It said “This is an unprecedented gesture by the Government of India and will help a large number of farmers in the country and will hopefully go a long way in mitigating the problems faced by farmers.”

While the CPI(M), CPI and MIM supported the resolution, the BJP opposed it. However, all Opposition members wanted loans taken from private financiers/moneylenders also to be waived.

Credit

In the Council, Agriculture Minister N. Raghuveera Reddy said the waiver would go a long way in mitigating farmers’ hardships.

He said farmers’ suicides in the State had fallen to seven to eight a month now from a high of 180 in 2004, thanks to the Government’s pro-farmer initiatives. He criticised the Telugu Desam for claiming credit for the waiver scheme.