Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 1
Asserting that the government was committed towards farmers’ welfare, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today proposed 10 per cent hike in the farm loan disbursal target to Rs 16.5 lakh crore and introduced an agri-infra and development cess of up to 100 per cent to create post-harvest infrastructure for improving farmers’ income.
“We will ensure increased credit flows to animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries,” said Sitharaman.
The budget estimate (BE) for the Agriculture Ministry is Rs 1,31,531.19 crore—Rs 1,23,017.57 crore for flagship schemes (Rs 11,382 crore lesser than last time) and Rs 8,513.62 crore for research and education. In the last Budget, Rs 1,34,399.77 crore was allocated for various schemes, though the revised estimate stood at Rs 1,16,757.92 crore. The allocation for research and education is higher than Rs 8,362.58 crore last year.
The Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, which is leading the farmers’ agitation against the three central laws, slammed the government for “reducing” allocation”.
“Given the circumstances, one expected the FM will pay special attention to the farmers. But the government has reduced allocation for the sector. Is this the kind of support to agriculture that the PM speaks of? Is this how farmers’ income will be doubled? It’s treachery, a joke,” said Morcha leader Yogendra Yadav.
Farm policy expert Sudhir Panwar alleged the government resolve to double farmers’ income lacked budgetary allocations and required policy shift. “The government has slashed allocation for all flagship schemes, including PMKSY, PMBFY and fertiliser subsidy… Increase of Rs 1.5 lakh crore in credit flow is customary and hardly matches the needs of the Covid-stressed farm economy,” he said.
Sitharaman said there had been steady increase in the procurement of wheat, rice and pulses. The MSP regime had undergone a change, which ensured the price was at least 1.5 times the cost of production across all commodities, she said. She proposed extending Swamitva scheme to all states and integrating 1,000 more APMC ‘mandis’ with e-NAM.
Connecting to sellers via e-NAM
- The MSP regime, says govt, has undergone a change to ensure the price farmers get is 1.5 times the cost of production
- Around 43.36 lakh wheat growing farmers benefited from the govt procurement under MSP as against 35.57 lakh previously
- 1,000 more mandis to be integrated with electronic national market
- The government raised the agriculture credit target by 10% to Rs16.5 lakh cr
Total allocation Rs1,31,531.19 cr