In its Agriculture Budget for 2024-25, the Tamil Nadu government focused on measures covering ‘soil health to human health,’ while increasing the total outlay under capital and revenue for agriculture and allied sectors by 9 per cent for FY25, when compared with FY24’s revised estimates.

The fourth exclusive Agriculture Budget of this government has provided an outlay of ₹42,282 crore for various schemes for 2024-25 when compared with ₹38,904 crore (revised estimate) in 2023-24. “Thanks to the implementation of key strategies, we have seen a notable increase in the gross cropped area from 152 lakh acres in 2020-2021 to 155 lakh acres in 2022-2023. The food grain production has also risen to an impressive 116.91 lakh tonnes(lt) in 2022-2023,” said MRK Paneerselvam, the State minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare while presenting the Agriculture Budget 2024-25.

With an increase in areas for cultivation and supportive measures, the government aims at achieving 127 lt of food grain production in 2023-24. In FY25, ₹10,500 crore has been allocated for food subsidy. Also, ₹500 crore will be allocated as an incentive for the Tamil Nadu government’s paddy procurement. “Food subsidy spending for 2023-24 is also ₹10,500 crore, based on which allocation for 2024-25 has been made,” Apoorva, Agricultural Production Commissioner and Principal Secretary to Government, TN Government told businessline.

Free electricity

An amount of ₹7,280 crore will be provided to Tangedco for providing free electricity to farmers in 2024-25. With a view to enable a shift towards sustainable and chemical-free agricultural practices a new scheme — Chief Minister’s Mannuyir Kaathu Mannuyir Kaappom scheme with 22 components will be implemented at an outlay of ₹206 crore in 2024-2025. Some of the programmes include the cultivation of traditional paddy varieties and millets and pulses rich in protein, fibre, and vitamins that will help keep the blood sugar level under control; setting up of 100 Uzhavar Angadis, which will sell agricultural produce, procured directly from farmers and adhering to specified quality norms, under one common brand.

The Agri Budget has earmarked an amount of ₹1,775 crore as the State share of premium subsidy for implementing the crop insurance scheme. The total State share of premium has come down from an allocation of ₹2,337 crore to ₹1,775 crore as the insurance companies have quoted lesser actuarial premium rates (APR) during 2023-2024 due to various proactive measures taken by the State Government, she said.

Explaining further, Apoorva said claim management measures to monitor over-insurance / fictitious enrolment helped. Also, the process of conducting crop-cutting experiments will be strengthened to estimate the yield loss so as to ensure the benefits of the scheme only to genuine farmers. She also mentioned about the adoption of an alternate risk participation approach (60:130 Cup and Cap Model) wherein the claims as well as surplus is shared between the Government (both State Government and Centre) and the implementing insurance companies.

In FY25, it is proposed to establish 207 agricultural machinery custom hiring centers with a total subsidy amount of ₹32.90 crore. There is also a plan to distribute 4,000 power tillers and 4,000 power weeders to farmers in 2024-25. The subsidy for power tillers has been increased from ₹85,000 to ₹1,20,000.

Subsidy for natural calamities

In an effort to shield farmers from the financial losses of natural disasters that occurred in this fiscal, Government Orders have been issued to provide an input subsidy of ₹118.77 crore to 1.85 lakh farmers for yield losses like maize yield loss in the kharif season due to inadequate rainfall and Michaung cyclone.

Also, input subsidy to the tune of ₹208.20 crore will be disbursed shortly to 2.74 lakh farmers towards yield loss incurred during natural disasters like inadequate rainfall during southwest monsoon in Tenkasi district and excessive rainfall in December 2023 in the southern districts.

Tamil Nadu Millet Mission Scheme will be continued in 2024-25 at an outlay of ₹65.30 crore.