- AGRICULTURE AND IRRIGATION
The government will procure all the vegetables that could not be sold to the public from producers at a guaranteed price of Rs.10/- per kg for tomato and Rs.15/ per kg for brinjal. Rates will be fixed for other vegetables treating these as base prices. Procurement price for paddy will be fixed at Rs.1800 per quintal. The prices of agricultural produce are very low and unremunerative and there is a need to increase the prices.
The wages of unskilled agricultural and other laborers have gone up from Rs.35 per day to Rs.150 per day in the last few years for women and from Rs.70 per day to Rs.350- Rs.400 per day for men. This is a welcome correction of wage level. The employers have got used to this high wage level. Similarly consumers will get used to higher prices of agricultural produce particularly since our government will provide jobs to all able bodied and willing people by undertaking massive works like digging lakes, canals, wells, laying roads, power transmission lines, solar power stations, hydro-electric power stations etc.
government would set up a separate Ministry for irrigation. In addition to constructing new dams and canals, this ministry would have the following responsibilities;
i.Linking rivers in the state.
iii.Creating links among lakes and between lakes and rivers.
- looking after the Lake management including deepening lakes and continuously desilting them
- Creating new lakes to ensure that each village has a lake
vi. Looking after Water management including draining rain water in pits and other shallow water into the nearby lakes. Water left in pits evaporates and it does not recharge ground water. When lakes have sufficient water, underground water will be recharged.
vii. Keeping the lakes and rivers clean
viii. Cleaning waste water and then using the same for irrigation without letting into the lake. This will ensure that lake water is not contaminated and this water can be used for drinking after purification.
- Cleaning river banks and ensuring that no garbage is dumped there
- Sanctioning loans for digging irrigation wells including bore wells. If lakes have water, digging wells will not lower the water table. It is wrong to ban new bore wells,
- Tamilnadu receives around 100 cm of rainfall per year on an average. If the rainwater is harvested to the maximum extent possible, two- three crops can be raised in most of the places. Tamilnadu will become surplus in food grains under our government.
xiii. While supplying water to people from reservoirs/rivers hundreds of kilometres away is welcome, this is not as reliable a source as local lake water.
xiii. Each district would have a senior water resources development officer with technical staff and with adequate powers to sanction construction of lakes and related work
The per capita production of food grains (rice, wheat, coarse grains and pulses) in India is less than 200kg per year while in the world it is over300 kg. This means that India’s performance in agriculture needs to be improved vastly. In India among the various states, Tamilnadu’s performance is very poor. During 2009-10, India produced 218 million tonnes for a population of around 1180 million. The per capita production is about 185 kg per year. Tamilnadu state produced about 8.0 million tonnes for a population of about 67 million people, which works out to a per capita production of only 120kg per year.
India’s production went up from 176 million tonnes in 1990-91 to 218 million tonnes in 2009-10 which works out to about 24%increase in 20 years. This increase itself is low. But increase in Tamilnadu is very much lower at 8% from 7.4 million tonnes in 1990-91 to only 8.0 million tonnes in 2009-10.
With the policies of our government, agricultural production will increase atleast by 100% in 5 years.
Water is a renewable resource. The ground water automatically gets recharged as it rains and there is no problem in exploiting ground water. There is no question of excessive exploitation as once the water dries underground there can be no exploitation. Moreover, the dangers of flood will be minimized when there are more open and borewells and lakes as the recharge of ground water and lakes will take much of rain water leaving lesser water to flow into the rivers.
Subsidies to farmers will be gradually reduced; if necessary by increasing the prices of their produce.
restrictions on exploitation of ground water will be removed.
To meet the labour shortage in agricultural sector, there will be further mechanization-in sowing, planting, weeding, harvesting, thrashing etc.
Restrictions on farmers and others for removing soil from the lakes for use in fields, brick kilns etc. and the lakes will be removed as this will lead to desilting of lakes free of cost.
While the quantum of rainfall in a year has not changed much, the rainfall has not been timely. In order to ensure timely rainfall, it would be useful to resort to cloud seeding and simultaneously to undertake research on refining the existing technology to achieve lower cost, safety, avoid pollution, avoid lower rains during the period subsequent to cloud seeding. Research by as many universities as are willing would also be funded by the government. Cloud seeding is not new to Tamilnadu, as it had already undertaken several times in the past starting from 1960s in Nilgiris district, though there was a long break after 1960s. Several countries, particularly in Asia like Thailand, China etc are resorting to cloud seeding. Each district would have one organization to undertake this operation. It can be a public or private organization.