Thursday, December 6, 2012
CONGRESS MANIFESTO-2012 :- AGRICULTURE
Agriculture is the backbone of the rural economy and the BJP Government has neglected its development. The BJP government boasts about the agriculture growth rate, but in reality it has no role in it. The progress in the field of agriculture is the result of the vision, wisdom and hard work of the farmer. In fact, when the prices of cotton were falling, the state government did not purchase it at the support price. And when the central government allowed the export of cotton to help farmers, the state government severely criticized it!
The BJP Government has proved to be an utter failure even in the fields of water and electricity, which are vital factors for the development of agriculture. Even today, lakhs of farmers are running from pillar to post for electrical connections. The work on the Narmada project has come to a grinding halt. It is unfortunate that the farmers have yet not derived the benefits of the project which they should have got by now. Not a single dam has been constructed during the rule of BJP. Only 13% construction work of the canals of the Sardar Sarovar Project has been completed. The fate of the rest is still uncertain. In addition to that, areas of Dholera-Bhal that were originally under command area of Narmada have been removed or 'decommanded', thus snatching away valuable rights of the farmers.
● Land is a very limited natural resource and in a developing economy there is great demand of it for a variety of purposes. There is need for a well knit policy to ensure that the land use is consistent with the needs of the developing economy and to ensure that wider public interest is considered. Aland commission will be formed for this purpose.
● To help small and marginal farmers meet their irrigation needs, they will be provided assistance in digging of bores and wells and purchase of oil engine and electric motor.
● 57 talukas of the Dark Zone of the state have not been provided with the electricity connections for agriculture for the last ten years. Recently, the government announced that it will provide electric connections in these talukas with a rider that the connection will be provided to only those who are using drip irrigation system. As a result, very limited farmers have benefited and these talukas continue not to have electric connection. The Congress party will remove this rider and give top priority to the electric connections for farmers.
● Arrangements will be made to provide funds to farmers at interest rate of 2% for agricultural activities. This will be done through cooperative societies engaged in agricultural lending and commercial banks.
● Not a single vigha of the 'Gauchar' of Gujarat will be allotted for other purposes and necessary steps will be taken to protect and improve 'Gauchar'. In each of the villages, the quantity and location of Gauchar land will be fixed and it will be kept reserved. No local authority will have any jurisdiction to sell it.
● The Agricultural University will provide seeds of all agricultural crops at affordable rates.
● A special project will be launched to utilise excess rain water to increase the underground water level.
● The land of the farmers would not be acquired for private purpose.
● Loans will be given to the farmers and cattle breeders to purchase milk animals such as cows and buffaloes and tractor at 2% rate of interest. Remaining portion of the interest would be borne by the State Government as subsidy.
● The village ponds have been taken over by the irrigation department of the government. These village ponds will be given back to the Gram Panchayat. The Gram Panchayat would earn from them by growing water chestnut or other products and use the income on rural development and renovation of the ponds.
● The farmers will be provided adequate electricity and the rates will be horsepower based.
● The land of Gamtal (village site) will be provided for residential purpose at rural level.
● Aprovision will be made to provide the copies of 7/12 and 8 A to the farmers free of cost through Gram Panchayat.
● About 47,000 farmers have been tilling the waste land and the land of Gauchar for years. The farmers holding the land at present will be made owners of that land.
● To save water and electricity, attractive subsidy will be introduced for inputs like drip irrigation system, wind turbines and solar power based systems.
● Arrangements will be made to provide at least 2 lakh new agricultural electricity connections every year.
● A Land Commission will be formed for a comprehensive evaluation in agriculture sector.
● Quality electricity will be provided for 16 hours continuously for agriculture.
● The tax on agricultural equipments, tools and tractors will be reviewed and relief will be provided in the tax.
● Steps will be taken to increase the production and export of horticultural products, flowers
and vegetables. This will start with a Rs 100 crore fund for the purpose.
● Efforts will be made to improve the income of farmers by improving ancillary services like sale of agricultural produce, storage and transportation. This will help farmers fetch better price for their produce and increase in their income.
● Agro industry will be given priority. The export of agricultural produce will be encouraged. An export Zone will be established for the export of mangoes, onions, cumin seeds, castor seeds and isabgol. A request will be made to the Central Government to provide all central facilities and assistance to this zone. An effective representation will be made to the centre in this regard.
● 50% rebate will be given for the electric motors of up to 5 horse power which are used for agricultural purpose.
● Agricultural Technology Mission will be set up under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister to increase agricultural production by adopting the improved agricultural techniques within the current land.
● Congress will constitute a high level Horticulture Board to conserve variety of crops and water and value addition to farmers.
● Farming activities related to agriculture and cottage industries will be encouraged to improve income of farmers. For this purpose activities like Animal Husbandry, Horticulture, Dairy Industry and small scale schemes will be made simpler. Social Justice Schemes will be made applicable to them.
● In the current times, agriculture cannot sustain without research and new technology. The work of institutions active in this field will be extended to remote areas.
● The water level in the rural area is going down due to absence of proper irrigation schemes and insufficient rain. There is need for a serious study of this problem. New methods need to be adopted for water conservation by using different means. New water resources such as forest pond, village pond and rain water storage tanks will be developed with the aid of the government. A water commission will be formed for this purpose.
● Godowns will be built for storage of forest produce and agricultural produce. The Gujarat Warehousing Corporation will be reactivated.
● Special encouragement will be given to organic agriculture by providing them urban/foreign market.
● Inundated land has been confiscated by Talati-Mantri. Such land will be regularised if it can be recovered and documents of right will be amended.
● Crop insurance cover to all farmers will be considered.
● An administrative system will be established promptly to ensure speedy disposal of insurance claims of farmers in case of failure of any crop.