Nowadays, the agricultural technologies have also been highly location specific. As the research used to be multiplied, the locations are also to be increased. Otherwise, the same strain will not hold good throughout the country or throughout the State. As far as this is concerned, there is very little encouragement for the agricultural scientists. I know very well the intricacies and the inner aspects of the Indian agricultural research and education. There is very nominal encouragement for agricultural research. I will take this opportunity to point out one aspect. Now, 52 years have passed since India achieved her Independence. There are very competent agricultural scientists in this country. Show me an instance where the National Award like `Bharat Ratna' has been given even to one agricultural scientist. There is none. Dr. M.S. Swaminathan is a renowned scientist all over the world. The entire country is looking at him for food security.

Can he not be considered for the highest national award? Is it not an incentive to the entire agricultural scientist community in this country, if one person is rewarded with this award? So, somehow a stepmotherly attitude is there towards agriculture in this country. That is where we are really sorry to point out that there is a lot to be improved as far as this is concerned.

Sir, as regards fertilizers, though India is one of the biggest countries where 70 per cent of the population depends on agriculture, the per capita, per hectare application of fertilizer is almost the lowest in this country. When compared to Japan, we are applying only one-third of the total nutrient value. The NPK which we are applying is hardly one-third. Even if you correlate the productivity with the nutrient application, we are just one-fourth with regard to productivity level when compared to Japan. The more you apply, the more will be the productivity and the per hectare yield in the country, but we are not doing so.

Even in the recent past we have been hearing whatever the nominal subsidy of Rs.8,000 crore that is being provided to the fertilizer -- I do not know whether it is a fact or not the hon. Minister will clarify later -even that is likely to be withdrawn. If it is so, then it is going to be quite disastrous.

Now, the net area sown is not going to be increased in this country. There are several limitations. The only solution for this country is to increase the productivity, the per hectare yield which requires good seed, good fertilizer, the highest nutrient value as far as fertilizer is concerned... (Interruptions)

SHRI S. BANGARAPPA (SHIMOGA): Pesticides also.

PROF. UMMAREDDY VENKATESWARLU : I am coming to that. The pesticides are really in a very bad shape. These are some of the areas where we have to improve.

As far as pesticides are concerned, as the senior Member Shri Bangarappa has pointed out, it is one of the worst areas as far as Indian agriculture is concerned. The spurious pesticides are coming into the market. Though, several cases have been booked, not one trader has been punished for that. There are several lacunae in the Pesticides Act of 1968. That is why, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh has written several times to the Central Government that amendments have to be brought in in this Pesticides Act. In fact, we have been requesting the hon. Minister of Agriculture to bring suitable amendment in this regard.

MR. CHAIRMAN : Please wind up now.

PROF. UMMAREDDY VENKATESWARLU : Sir, I am the only person who will be speaking on behalf of the TDP on this issue, which is the fourth largest contingent as far as this Lok Sabha is concerned. Let me a take few more minutes. My friend, who spoke just now, had mentioned that he was a Post-Graduate in Agriculture. Sir, I would like to inform the House that I have done Ph.D.. in Agriculture having served for 26 years in this field.

MR.CHAIRMAN: You have made very valid points.

PROF. UMMAREDDY VENKATESWARLU : Sir, this Pesticides Act is to be amended.

In the Act, there are several lacunae. We are not able to punish even one trader, though we catch hold of them normally. That is why, it has to be examined thoroughly. Amendments have to be brought. If any adulteration is there in the agricultural products, they should be treated as economic offenders because the result of adulteration is realised by the farmers only at the end of the crop season.

The poor farmer will not be in a position to know whether he is purchasing the adulterated seed or the adulterated fertiliser or the adulterated pesticide. Its benefits are otherwise realised at the end of the crop season after investing all his fortunes. That is the reason why, many farmers are preferring suicide in view of the crop failure and also in view of the mounting debts.

The other field is credit, which is really alarming. What is the institutional credit arrangement that is being given to the agricultural farming community? Now, if you take the total requirement of the agricultural credit to the farmers, 92 per cent of the farmers, who are doing the agriculture, is depending only on credit and only 8 per cent of the farmers is pursuing agriculture with their own investment. So, 92 per cent of the farmers is depending on agricultural credit. About 38 to 39 per cent of the credit requirements is being provided by the institutional agencies and the remaining 61 to 62 per cent of the credit requirements is being provided by other agencies with usurious rate of interest. We are not out of this peculiar situation.

Sir, you are quite aware about the RBI guidelines. The nationalisation of banks took place in 1969 for the first time. That is, the State Bank of India and its branches had been nationalised in 1969. Twenty banks were nationalised in 1969. Another six banks had been nationalised in 1980. After the nationalisation, the guidelines that had been given by the RBI were that the minimum 18 per cent of the net credit funds should go to the agricultural sector. Now, the situation is that only 11 per cent of the funds from all the nationalised banks and the cooperative sector goes to agriculture. Who is questioning it? The RBI had given the guidelines. The Reserve Bank of India is not punishing any nationalised bank. It has not pointed out to any nationalised bank as to why they are not able to meet the stipulations laid down by the Reserve Bank of India; nor any Government agency is pursuing it. I would like to know whether any Government agency is taking a review of the nationalised banks and also whether the credit requirement is being flown into the agricultural sector. It is not so. This is the reason why the farming community is now starving for investment. That is the reason why there is a low productivity in all the crops. This is the major reason.

MR. CHAIRMAN : Please conclude now.

PROF. UMMAREDDY VENKATESWARLU : Sir, I will take another five to six minutes. I will just touch a few more points and then conclude.

Sir, I will just deal with the National Agricultural Policy and the Credit Insurance together. Fortunately or unfortunately, this country became Independent in 1947. Immediately in the next year, 1948, there was a National Industrial Policy. The National Industrial Policy was formulated in 1948. Now we are in 1999. After 52 years of our Independence, the country is still waiting for the National Agricultural Policy, where certain securities would be provided to the agricultural sector. It has not yet come up. There were recommendations of Bhanu Pratap Committee and C.H. Hanumanth Rao Committee. They recommended to treat agriculture at par with industry. None of these recommendations has been examined and no action has been taken.

Now, I have been hearing that the hon. Minister, Shri Nitish Kumar is very serious in bringing the National Agricultural Policy. It should come. While bringing this National Agricultural Policy, I may make a mention at this juncture that there should be adequate protection for the farmers. When the industry becomes sick, it will be referred to the BIFR. When the industry becomes sick, all its loans that have been raised will be waived. That provision should also be there as far as the agricultural sector and the farmers are concerned.

Similarly, agricultural insurance. This is a long-felt need that a village should be treated as a unit while computing the losses in agriculture and crop insurance should be extended to all the crops, to all the regions. At the minimum, the village should be treated as a unit. A comprehensive crop insurance scheme has to be brought forth.

MR. CHAIRMAN : Please conclude now. There are a large number of speakers. We will have to conclude it today.

PROF. UMMAREDDY VENKATESWARLU : As regards agricultural prices, my friend has mentioned something about computing agricultural prices. Who are the Members in the Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices? How many representatives from the farmers are there? How many regions are being represented? Agriculture is not unique in this vast country. There are several disparities from one region to the other region, from one State to the other State, from one crop to the other crop. How many farmers are represented on this Agricultural Prices Commission? I suggest, let there be a regional Prices Commission so that the prices will not be uniform throughout the country. The prices that are spelt out for Punjab may not hold good for Tamil Nadu or Kerala or Andhra Pradesh. Let there be a regional Prices Commission so that the interests of the farming community and the crops can be taken up.

SHRI S. BANGARAPPA (SHIMOGA): How many farmers' representatives are there on this Commission?

PROF. UMMAREDDY VENKATESWARLU (TENALI): I have asked that question. I havejust now mentioned about it.

Mr. Chairman: He has already referred to that.

PROF. UMMAREDDY VENKATESWARLU (TENALI): How many Members are there? That is why, the number of farmers' representatives on the Agricultural Costs and Prices Commission should be increased. The regional representation should be there. Otherwise, the real picture will not get reflected in the computation of the costs. While computing the costs, even the risk the managerial costs are to be taken. Otherwise, the agricultural prices will not get reflected.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Please conclude.

PROF. UMMAREDDY VENKATESWARLU : I am concluding. This is the last point. Sir, regarding the transfer of technology and extension services, at the highest level, the scientists are generating the technologies. Who is the actual contact person to hand over this technology to the farmer? It is an assistant or somebody who will be transmitting this total technology to the farmer. By the time it is handed over to the farmer, do you know what would be the amount of transmission losses of technology from the scientists to the farmers? It is as much as 65 per cent to 70 per cent.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Prof. Ummareddy Venkateswarlu, please take your seat. There are a large number of speakers. We will have to conclude today.

PROF. UMMAREDDY VENKATESWARLU : Lastly, as far as Andhra Pradesh is concerned, there are two issues.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Please give this in writing to the Minister. You pass on this point to the Minister.

PROF. UMMAREDDY VENKATESWARLU : I will just mention it in a minute. Last year, as far as paddy is concerned, 1001-Grain was classified as the fine variety. Now, for reasons not known, it is being converted as a common variety and the farmers are on hartal. That has to be looked into.

The Government of India has encouraged palm plantation. All the farmers in the coastal area, not only in Andhra Pradesh but also in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have taken up this palm plantation. Now, you have been giving concession for all the imported palmolein oil because of that these farmers are now finished. Palm farming communities are on the verge of destruction.

SHRI ANIL BASU (ARAMBAGH): I would like to tell this for your information. All kinds of edible oils, from groundnut to palmolein, etc, are going to be uproot this farming community.

MR. CHAIRMAN: You have made your point. Please conclude.

PROF. UMMAREDDY VENKATESWARLU : My last point is that even sugar import is also taking place. Sir, with this, I am thankful to you for giving me a few more minutes to speak. Thank you. (ends)

MR. CHAIRMAN: You have made very valid points.

MR. CHAIRMAN : I request the hon. Members to be brief because we have to finish the discussion today including the Minister's reply.

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