The Tamil Nadu government dedicated its first-ever agriculture Budget to the protesting farmers in Delhi and announced a slew of schemes and projects to increase agriculture production and ensure enhanced income for farmers. “I am dedicating this [agriculture] Budget to the farmers who are protesting the [Union government’s] farm laws in Delhi,” Agriculture Minister M.R.K. Pannerselvam said when he commenced his Budget speech in the Assembly on August 14.
The Minister presented a 16-point strategy for the growth of the agriculture sector. This included value addition for agricultural products at each stage, making sure all agriculture products receive competitive pricing, and encouraging youth to be agricultural entrepreneurs. In another major announcement, he said that the cultivated area in the State would be increased substantially to 11.75 lakh hectares.
Focus on organic farming
A new scheme for organic farming will be implemented and a separate department will be created for organic farming. “Input subsidies will be given to farmers involved in organic farming,” he said and added that a centre for organic farming research would be set up in the name of the famed agriculturist Nammalvar at the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University.
Selling of palm jaggery through fair price shops and regulating the cutting of palm trees (the District Collector has to approve), enhancement in the support price given to paddy and sugarcane, setting up of 10 new farmers’ markets (Uzhavar Sandhai) and improving facilities in the existing markets, setting up an agricultural museum in Chennai, encouraging terrace farming, and setting up a new horticulture university in Krishnagiri are among the other announcements.
The Minister said: "During 2021-2022, Rs.34,220.6499 crore is provided in their respective demands for Agriculture Department and agriculture related departments like animal husbandry, fisheries, dairy development, irrigation, rural development, revenue, cooperation, sericulture and forest departments. "
100 days of DMK government
The agriculture budget was presented today (August 14) which marks the 100th day of the DMK government. The main Budget presented on August 13, and the agriculture Budget were loaded with political messaging: While the Union government has consistently refused to lower the cess on petrol, the Tamil Nadu government, in its revised Budget for 2021-22, lowered the State tax by Rs.3 a litre. This prompted the Leader of the Opposition in Karnataka, Siddharamaiah, to raise a similar demand in his State. “Tamil Nadu has cut the petrol price by Rs.3 helping lakhs of common men. I urge @CMofKarnataka Shri @BSBommai to follow the same and cut the price of both Petrol and diesel in Karnataka.”
DMK insiders said that the dedication of the agriculture Budget to the farmers protesting in Delhi was done under the instructions of Chief Minister M.K. Stalin. Speaking in the Assembly after the presentation of the agriculture budget, Stalin said the government had dedicated itself to the welfare of the people in these past 100 days. The DMK would work with renewed vigour from here on, he added.