With a declared objective of making agriculture less costly, more profitable, productive and sustainable, Agriculture Minister P. Pullarao presented the agriculture budget for 2016-17 with an outlay of Rs.16,250.58 crore. Of this, the plan component for the agriculture and allied sectors is Rs.7,691.9 crore and non-plan outlay is Rs.8,558.68 crore.
Spelling out several ongoing and new initiatives to achieve a drought-free Andhra Pradesh, Mr.Pullarao said in the Assembly on Thursday that the Pattiseema Project for interlinking of rivers was one such initiative last year to enable farmers in Rayalaseema to overcome dry spell conditions. With the food grain production estimated at 137 lakh tonnes as against 160 lakh tonnes of 2014-15 due to drought during Kharif and unseasonal rains in November last year, the Minister said that the Government was ready with drought mitigation measures for Kharif 2016-17.
For agriculture alone, plan is Rs.1,311.7 crore and non plan is Rs.4,474 crore to take up measures like providing micro nutrients for restoring soil health, good quality seeds, promoting organic and natural farming and bring down input cost, farm mechanisation and extension activities, It allocated Rs.3,512 for second instalment of debt relief scheme to benefit 35.15 lakh farmer families.
Panta Sanjivini:- For improving water availability, 'Panta Sanjivini' programme would be scaled up for digging farm ponds under MGNREGA and 'Rain guns' will be made available in large scale to save every drop of water besides soil and water conservation measures. About 3.5 lakh farm ponds were being taken up and the NREGA would support pond construction upto five acres, he said.
Linking MGNREGS to agriculture and allied sectors, action plans were prepared with an amount of Rs.5,094 crore for 2016-17 as against Rs.1,904 crore in 2015-16. The new initiatives include large scale promotion of Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) by organising farmers into about 1,000 groups covering 10 lakh farmers in agriculture, horticulture, dairy and aquaculture sectors. “The purpose is to help small and marginal farmers in the State employ technology and turn farming into viable business proposition," the Minister said.
Seven-hour power supply::- Adequate provision of Rs.3,000 crore proposed to extend power subsidy to farmers and provide seven-hour free and reliable power supply to 15.7 lakh agriculture services by investing on high-voltage distribution system and replacing non-ISI pump sets with energy efficient pump sets.
The horticulture sector with focus on high-yielding varieties, post-harvest infrastructure like cold storage, value addition and micro irrigation under PMKSY was allocated Rs.659 crore, 31 per cent more than that of 2015-16. Fisheries, based on its huge potential and impressive growth of 32.7 per cent in 2015-16 has a special policy extending various incentives got Rs.339 crore, an increase of 51 per cent over that of last year.
Support for livestock:- The budgetary support to the Livestock department has been stepped up with an allocation of Rs.819 crore and the target is to make AP one of the top three states in the country in milk, egg and meat production by 2022. In line with it government brought in livestock development policy and fodder security policy, he said. Sericulture where State is being positioned as leading production centre for international grade silk production and an allied activity was allocated Rs.147 crore. Labour and Employment Minister K. Atchannaidu presented the Agriculture budget in the Legislative Council.