As Andhra reels under drought, CM Jagan Reddy announces ₹2,000 cr relief fund
Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday announced setting up of a state calamity relief fund with ₹2,000 crore to help farmers overcome the impact of severe drought conditions in the state.
Making a statement in the state assembly on the first day of the budget session, Jagan said the state had recorded 48.3% of deficit rainfall this monsoon so far. It had received a total rainfall of just 70.1mm as against the normal rainfall of 135.5mm from June 1 to July 10.
“During the Kharif season which commenced on June 1, cultivation is done in an average area of 42 lakh hectares. Every year, sowing takes place in an average of 9.15 lakh hectares by July 10. But, this year, sowing was done only in 3.82 lakh hectares,” the chief minister said.
“Due to the delayed monsoon, cultivation has not commenced in several parts of the state. Added to this, there is a severe drinking water crisis in the entire state,” he said.
Jagan also announced the release of ₹1 crore each to all the 175 MLAs in the state, irrespective of their political affiliation, to help them take measures to resolve the drinking water scarcity in their respective constituencies.
“The money will be given from the Chief Minister’s Development Fund and the MLAs should assess the situation in their respective constituencies. They can use the money to ensure supply of water through tankers, drilling of bore wells or any other means, depending on the local conditions,” he said.
The chief minister pointed out that the previous Telugu Desam Party government had evaded the payment of ₹2,300 crore towards input subsidy to farmers and diverted ₹1,800 crore given by the Centre towards drought.
“We had to clear the dues of the previous government on seed procurement to a tune of ₹384 crore,” he said.
Jagan said the state would give ₹12,500 every year to farmers under the YSR Rythu Bharosa scheme as crop investment assistance from October 15.
“We shall also pay ₹7 lakh each towards compensation to the families of the farmers who had committed suicides due to crop failure and indebtedness. We are also setting up a market stabilisation fund of ₹3,000 crore to check the price fluctuations in agriculture produce,” he said.
He further announced that under YSR Insurance Scheme, the government would pay premium amounting to ₹2,164 crores without imposing any burden on the farmers.
The chief minister said the cooperative sector would be strengthened and all sick dairy plants and sugar factories would be revived. Warehouses, cold storage facilities and food processing units would be set up in the required measure. Testing laboratories would be set up in every constituency to check the quality of seeds, fertilisers and pesticides, he said.
The assembly witnessed an intense debate on the drought conditions. The ruling party’s members blamed the previous Telugu Desam Party government for not taking any measures to mitigate the drought last year.
The TDP’s lawmaker accused the Jagan government of not ensuring sufficient seed supplies to farmers ahead of the Kharif season, which lead to protests by farmers across the state.