In tune with its slogan of ‘Ab ki baar, kisan sarkar’ (let’s bring farmers’ rule this time), coined after the decision to go national, the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) government in Telangana has increased the budget allocation to agriculture and allied sectors to ₹28,902 crore for 2023-24, the election year, with an increase of nearly ₹3,000 crore over the previous year.
The increase in allocation has been made mainly for the implementation of farm loan waiver scheme announced during the run-up to 2018 Assembly elections with a promise to waive farm loans up to ₹1 lakh in a phased manner. Although the allocation of ₹6,385 crore to write off loans above ₹50,000 and up to ₹90,000 per farmer is not sufficient to fulfill the promise, it is higher by ₹2,385 crore for 2023-24 compared to 2022-23.
Similarly, higher allocation of ₹15,075 crore, up by ₹275 crore, for investment support given under the Rythu Bandhu scheme and ₹1,589.5 crore, up by ₹124 crore, for Rythu Bima scheme has been made keeping in mind more land likely to become eligible for Rythu Bandhu given at ₹5,000 per acre for two crop seasons a year with settlement of disputes and also for providing life insurance cover of ₹5 lakh per landholding farmers aged up to 59 years.
The silver lining for the agriculture and allied sectors – agriculture, forestry, livestock and fisheries, on which a majority of working population depends has been the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of gross value addition (GVA) at current prices is registered at 14.05% in 2022-23 compared to 9.97% at national level.
The gross state value addition (GSVA) by the agriculture and allied activities has increased by 186% (from 2014-15 to 2022-23) and the State is the top contributor to the total FDI inflows in the agriculture service sector of the country with a share of 26.32% between October 2019 and September 2021. It is stated in the outlook for the sector that the State government is deploying artificial intelligence and other technologies through pilots such as “AI4AI” (Artificial Intelligence for Agricultural Innovation) through the Saagu-Baagu programme and Area Estimation through Remote Sensing.
A significant portion of the agriculture-allied sectors growth is driven by the livestock sub-sector as it accounts for 47.69% of the sectors’ GSVA at current prices followed by crops at 45.20%, fishing and aquaculture at 3.05% and forestry at 4.06% in 2022-23.
With the State government’s focus on crop diversification to reduce losses of farmers with traditional crops, it is being planned to increase the extent of edible oil plantation to 20 lakh acres in 5 years beginning with 2022-23. The State stands sixth in terms of oilpalm cultivation extent with 68,440 acres till 2021-22 and over 46,630 acres extent has been added in 2022-23 till November-end last. It gets an allocation of ₹1,000 crore for 2023-24 as in the previous year.