India’s youngest state Telangana has achieved the turnaround in agriculture by almost doubling the agriculture production and the area under cultivation during last seven years.
Officials say this could be possible due to completion of several irrigation projects, revival of tanks, 24X7 free power to farmers and Rs.10,000 financial assistance to farmers towards input costs per acre annually.
In 2014, when Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh, the area under cultivation in Telangana was 1.41 crore. The same has now gone up to 2.10 crore acres during the combined period of Vaanakalam (Kharif) and Yasangi (Rabi) seasons.
The agriculture yield has doubled from 2.05 crore tonne to 4.11 crore tonne during the same period.
According to official figures, Paddy was cultivated in 34.97 lakh acres in 2013-14, and this has gone to 1.04 crore acres in 2020-21. The procurement of paddy by the government has gone up from 24.30 lakh tonnes in 2014 to 1.11 crore tonnes last year.
The government claims that state has become rice bowl of the country.
The fact was highlighted during Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan’s customary address to the joint session of both the houses of state legislature on Monday, the first day of the budget session. She said Telangana has become Annapurna or food provider to the country.
Last summer, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) procured 1.15 crore tonnes of paddy all over the country. Of this, 64 lakh tonnes, that is about 56 per cent was procured from Telangana alone,
Paddy production during Vaanakalam was around 1.3 crore tonnes and during Yasangi it is expected to be 1.25 crore tonne, the highest for any state in the country during Rabi season. Thus the paddy production for the year is estimated to be 2.55 crore tonnes.
The area under cotton cultivation has also gone up from 41.83 lakh acres to 60.54 lakh acres. The cotton crop then accounted for only 18.45 lakhs of tonnes annually, whereas now, it accounts for 37.62 lakh of tonne annually.
The figures of last seven years show that the state has made tremendous strides in both area under cultivation and production. From a bottom rank once, it now ranks among the top states in the country.
To cater to the growing requirements of the state, the state also expanded marketing and godowns facilities. The number of markets has gone up from 150 to 192. The capacity of godowns today stands at 24.73 lakh against 4.17 lakh tonne in 2014.
The state is also on course to cross another milestone with the gross production value of agriculture and horticulture crops for 2020-21 crop year expected to touch the Rs 1 lakh crore. The figure for 2019-20 figure was Rs 89,058 crore.
Agriculture department attributes the increase in cultivation area and production to improved irrigation facilities with completion of new irrigation projects, revival of tanks under Mission Kaktiya and other measures like round-the-clock free electricity and Rythu Bandhu scheme under which every farmer is being paid Rs.10,000 per acre every year towards input costs.
The total crop sown area has increased by 21 lakh acre compared to 2019-20.
An official said the increase in sown area and production over last one year could also be because of Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown as people who own agriculture lands shifted back to their primary occupation after losing other sources of income
To prevent farmers from losses due to glut in the market, the authorities are encouraging them to go for alternative crops rather than relying totally on paddy, cotton or other traditional crops. The department has set a target to increase the cultivation of horticulture crops from existing 12.5 lakh acres to 66 lakh acres over the next five years.
Officials say Mission Kaktiya played a key role in augmenting irrigation facilities. Under this programme, the government took up revival of 45,000 tanks constructed during Kakatiya dynasty. This has resulted in the raise in the ground water levels.
According to data released by the Centre recently, out of 549 well analysed in the state, ground water increased by 91 per cent in 498 Wells.
The government embarked upon construction of major and medium irrigation projects. Kaluwakurty, Nettempadu, Bhima, Koil Sagar, Devadula, Mid Manair, Yellampally, Singur, Kinnerasani, Palem Vagu, Kumaram Bhim, Mattadi Vagu, Neelvayi, Jagganathpur and other projects works were completed on a fast track. Kaleshwaram, Palamuru-Rangareddy, Dindi, Sitarama Lift Irrigation project are nearing completion.
The government claims that Telangana region which was once a permanent address for famine and drought is now transformed and shaped as an excellent agriculture-based state.
Blue Dart Med-Exp to test UAS for vax deliveries
Logistics company Blue Dart, part of the Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL), has formed Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium with the mission of revolutionizing the delivery of vaccines and emergency medical supplies to the remotest parts of India with Drones amid the surging second wave.
Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium is part of the ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project in collaboration with the Government of Telangana, World Economic Forum, Niti Aayog and Healthnet Global.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has granted the project with necessary exemptions and rights to fly drone flights on an experimental basis in Telangana.
The aim is to assess an alternate logistics route in providing safe, accurate and reliable pickup and delivery of health care items from distribution centre to specific location and back.
Blue Dart Med-Express Drone flights will deploy an immersive delivery model to optimize the current healthcare logistics within Telangana. The model will enable deliveries from district medical stores and blood banks to Primary Health Centers (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs), Blood Storage Units & further from PHCs/CHCs to Central Diagnostic laboratories.
Balfour Manuel, Managing Director, Blue Dart said, “It’s been over a year and our battle against COVID-19 continues to unfold new challenges that need solutions in real-time. The pandemic has taught each one of us the importance of logistics and the need for a tech-led supply chain infrastructure. As an organization Blue Dart has always been surrounded with the technology of the future. It is this ability that has helped us to not only withstand the pandemic but thrive with growth. While we reach out to over 35,000 locations across the country, the current situation calls for a much deeper penetration of vaccines.”
Commenting on Blue Dart’s experiment with Drone flights for Beyond Visual Line of Sight delivery of vaccines Ketan Kulkarni, CMO & Head – Business Development, Blue Dart says, “The consortium aims at enabling safer, efficient and cost-effective Drone delivery flights. With efficient systems in place, it can help reduce the current logistics cost, making the healthcare logistics faster and efficient. We are delighted to be granted the rights to commence operations and this is definitely the need of the hour. Mankind is witnessing the worst time and Blue Dart is committed to giving back to the society in which it operates and will always be ready to take one step forward.”
Fuel prices unchanged on Thursday
Fuel retailers spared consumers of any further increase in fuel prices by keeping retail prices of petrol and diesel unchanged on Thursday.
Accordingly, petrol continues to cost Rs 92.05 per litre and diesel Rs 82.61 up in Delhi.
Across the country as well the petrol and diesel price prices remained static on Thursday but its actual retail prices varied depending on the level of local levies in respective states.
In Mumbai, regular petrol now comes for Rs 98.36 a litre just few days away from crossing the historic level of Rs 100 per litre.
Petrol prices in some states including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and in some places in Maharastra have breached the Rs 100 per litre mark while premium petrol has been hovering above that level for some time now.
Before Thursday’s price hold, fuel prices increased for three consecutive days this week up to Wednesday. Petrol and diesel prices also increased on four consecutive days last week
Petrol prices have increased by Rs 1.50 a litre Delhi in May in the seven increases so far. Similarly, diesel prices have risen by Rs 1.88 per litre in capital this month.
IANS had written earlier that OMCs may begin increasing the retail price of petrol and diesel post state elections as they were incurring losses to the tune of Rs 2-3 per litre by holding the price line despite higher global crude and product prices.
OMCs benchmark retail fuel prices to a 15-day rolling average of global refined products’ prices and dollar exchange rate. In the last fortnight global oil prices have hovered in $66-67 a barrel range higher than the levels when petrol and diesel prices were last revised. Crude prices have jumped around $ 69 a barrel now.
With global crude prices at around $ 69 a barrel mark, OMCs may have revise fuel prices upwards again if there is any further firming up.
RAI seeks capital support for retail industry amid pandemic
Retailers Association of India (RAI) has urged the government to take steps for capital infusion into the retail industry with ECLGS benefits and loan moratorium.
Speaking about the state of the Indian Retail Industry, Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, RAI, said: “The retail industry in India has been in a perpetual paradox ever since the first set of restrictions began last year in March 2020. The businesses and the workforce in retail need to be cushioned by the government or the local authorities to ease off their hardships.”
He further said that two most important and immediate steps that can prevent this industry from collapsing are to prioritise vaccination of the last mile workers and to urgently provide financial support.
RAI noted that as the days of the lockdown drag on, it is getting increasingly difficult for retailers to retain employees and to keep their businesses afloat. Retailers need to pay salaries, minimum electricity, rentals, property taxes etc, even if the businesses are shut due to the lockdown.
The cash inflow of the industry has come to a standstill, while the fixed operating cost remains intact.
The immense financial stress faced by the retail sector will adversely impact both livelihood and the financial institutions exposure to the sector as retailers start to become insolvent. Millions of MSME suppliers too get no payment from the industry participants.
RAI has recommended that the Ministry of Finance and the Reserve Bank of India step in to bring some relief to the mounting stress on the retail business in the wake of second wave of Covid -19.
It noted that corporate retail outlets is one of the 26 sectors, selected by the Kamath panel under the ‘Resolution Framework for Covid-related Stress’. While this was mentioned in the announcement of ECLGS 2.0 it has not been clarified in the notification which announced ECLGS 3.0, it said.
“This needs to be clarified and ECLGS funds made available to the retail sector immediately. Availability of additional funding to eligible retail businesses will go a long way in contributing to retail revival and protecting jobs,” it said.
It further sought a moratorium on principal and interest for six months for the 26 stressed sectors.
RAI also asked the government and the RBI to mandate banks to give ad-hoc working capital loans of 30 per cent more than current limits so that critical payments like salaries and wages can be made, among other recommendations.
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