“We must make the agricultural sector a priority”

Posted: Date Posted – 10:07 PM, Wed – Oct 5, 22

(Source: Twitter/TRSpartyonline) K Chandrashekhar Rao focuses on agriculture and makes it his priority to ensure the global competitiveness of the agricultural sector, which is the need of the hour to solve multiple problems.

Hyderabad: Despite being a formidable force in nation building as the largest employer and contributor to the economy, the agricultural community has always been on the sidelines when it comes to national priorities. Even though successive governments have claimed to give top priority to agriculture, it has remained an empty promise in terms of financing and the well-being of farmers. Political parties can blame themselves or make excuses, but the main reason is the lack of priorities.

All national political parties – Congress, BJP and the left – have failed to define their priorities, especially with regard to farmers, rural development and the unorganized sectors in urban areas which represent the majority of the country’s population. Therefore, they could not bring economic equity to the national level. As a farmer activist, I want K Chandrashekhar Rao to focus on agriculture and make it his priority to ensure the global competitiveness of the agricultural sector, which is the need of the hour to address multiple issues – from employment to economic development and food security, among others.

Chandrashekhar Rao has set new benchmarks for agricultural development and farmer welfare through his new initiatives such as Rythu Bandhu, Rythu Bima, Free Uninterrupted Electricity and others in Telangana as well as nationwide. Now that our IT and health sectors are at global standards, why not achieve global competitiveness in the agricultural sector as well?

As the TRS leader works on the farmer-centric agenda for his new national political party, we want him to prioritize four core issues. As a result, the union agriculture minister should be given the post of deputy prime minister with a separate budget for agriculture. States should have full control over the agricultural sector as it is a state subject and should be empowered to decide on the cultivation of crops as well as the export of crops.

To bring global competitiveness, new technologies must be adopted, including agricultural mechanization as well as the integration of information technologies and nanoscale and genetic technologies. Otherwise, we will never reach global standards in terms of quality and quantity of each crop produced. These technologies should be used to reduce cultivation costs. Just as the Telangana government provides Rythu Bima to farmers, national political parties should come up with a crop insurance policy to compensate farmers within 30 days of crop damage.

As he is asking for the same, Chandrashekhar Rao should remove the GST on all agricultural inputs, including pesticides and agricultural machinery. Similarly, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) should be linked to agriculture. The Agricultural Costs and Prices Commission (ACCP) should be made autonomous and agricultural planning should be done bottom-up in the gram panchayats and zilla parishads. Hopefully Chandrashekhar Rao will have the right priorities.

P. Chengal Reddy, farmer activist and senior advisor to the Consortium of Indian Farmers Associations (CIFA).

About Keneth T. Graves

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