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Govt. Plans to Promote Oil Palm Cultivation in 2.5L acres with ₹1000 Cr. Budgetary Support

Telangana government has committed ₹1,000 crores to promote oil palm cultivation.

Shivani Meena
Oil Palm Trees
Oil Palm Trees

Agriculture and allied sectors have received more than 10.5 percent of the overall budget outlay for 2022-23, with the government allocating ₹24,254 crores for agriculture and another ₹2,769 crores for allied sectors. Although no new projects have been planned, the government has committed ₹1,000 crore to promote oil palm cultivation.

The Rythu Bandhu (₹14,800 crores) and Rythu Bima (₹1,466 crores) schemes receive the lion's share of the overall agricultural spending. T. Harish Rao, Minister of Finance, stated in his budget address that the allocation of ₹1,000 crores was to encourage farmers to engage in oil palm cultivation. It is intended to promote it on 2.5 lakh acres in 2022-23.

Telangana ranked sixth in terms of oil palm area in the nation with the plantation crop cultivated in 53,455 acres. It does, however, lead in terms of production, with 8 tonnes of fresh fruit bunches of oil palm per acre, as well as the greatest oil extraction rate of 19.22 percent in 2020-21. According to the socio-economic forecast, the state produces around 0.45 lakh tonnes of crude palm oil, compared to a demand of 3.66 lakh tonnes.

The Minister said the growth in the gross sown area to 2.09 crore acres by 2020-21 from 1.31 crore acres in 2014-15 was the result of scaling up irrigation facilities, free round-the-clock electricity supply, and financial support offered in the name of Rythu Bandhu.

Meanwhile, even though the State government has risen budgetary support to the energy industry, the electric utilities of the state, especially the two distribution companies (Discoms), which were holding out hope for a major budgetary allocation this time to plug their revenue deficit of nearly ₹4,100 crores even after the proposed tariff hike, have nothing more to cheer about.

The government allocated ₹12,210 crores to the energy industry in the budgeted amount introduced to the State Legislature on Monday, along with a subsidy of ₹10,690 crores given against free electricity supply to the agricultural sectors and subsidized power supplied to a few other sections such as hair-cutting saloons, dhobi-ghats, and poultry units (₹10,500 crores) and power subsidization given to industries (₹190 crores).

Although the allocation this time is up about 11%, or 1,172 crores in monetary terms, it is unlikely to cover the demands of the utilities that are in debt. The debt of the two Discoms is increasing year after year owing to revenue gaps, even after the subsidy subvention and government takeover of around 9,000 crores out of over 15,000 crore debt when they joined the Ujjawal Discom Assurance Yojana plan in the last quarter of 2016-17.

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