The K Chandrashekar Rao Government has announced two key decisions that would have a significant impact on farming in Telangana.
While hinting at doing away with the Regulated Cropping System from next season, it announced that it is not going to open procurement centres in villages.
It invoked the three Central Farm Acts to stop procurement in villages, saying that the farmers are free to sell their produce anywhere.
The KCR Government has completely changed its stance on the three laws. It had supported the nationwide bandh call given by the farmers’ unions protesting against the Farm Acts early this month.
However, the change comes a few days after his trip to Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
Telangana is among the few States that procures paddy heavily. Bulk of the paddy produced by the farmers are bought by the State government agencies.
In the last rabi, the State procured all of the paddy produced in the farmers by spending about ₹27,000 crore in order to help the farmers face the Covid-19 crisis. Besides, it bought all the maize that farmers grew despite the fact that they ‘violated’ the advice under the Regulated Cropping pattern.
But the tone and tenor of the KCR’s review meeting with top officials on Sunday indicates that the State Government will be washing its hands off the procurement to a large extent from the next season.
The farmers have reacted very sharply to the decision on procurement. Though the Government didn’t overtly say that it is going to stop procurement completely, the ‘spirit’ of the review meeting clearly indicates that there won’t be any scope for largescale procurement.
The government is not a business organisation or trader. It is not a rice miller or a dal miller. Sale and purchase is not the responsibility of government, was the feeling expressed at the review meeting.
The Government points out that it lost ₹7,500 crore, including ₹3,935 crore from paddy alone. The farmers’ unions are quite upset about the business-like attitude of the government.
The KCR Government is invoking the Central Laws to defend its decisions. “The new Farm Laws being implemented in the country allow the farmers to sell their crop anywhere. Hence, the State Government need not set purchase centres in the villages,” it argues.
If the government doesn’t open purchase centres, the farmers, particularly the small and medium farmers, will be forced to sell the produce to traders at a price the latter dictate as they don’t have enough resources to take the produce to mandis.