Budget: farming sector gets a boost

Rs 35,984 crore allocated for agriculture and farmers’ welfare

GN Bureau | February 29, 2016


#Budget 2016   #Arun Jaitley  

In the budget 2016-17, union finance minister Arun Jaitley announced schemes for agriculture and farmers’ welfare and allotted Rs 35,984 crore for the same.

Jaitley said that the government would reorient its interventions in the farm and non-farm sectors to double the income of farmers by 2022. Strengthening the pradhan mantri krishi sinchai yojana, 28.5 lakh hectares will be brought under irrigation under the scheme while implementation of 89 irrigation projects under accelerated irrigation benefits programme (AIBP) will be fast-tracked.

Jaitely further said that the government will undertake three major schemes to help the weaker sections, wherein pradhan mantri fasal bima yojana has already been announced providing it with Rs 5,500 crore. Under the scheme, the farmer will pay a nominal amount of insurance premium and get the highest ever compensation in the event of any loss suffered.

The finance minister announced creation of a dedicated long term irrigation fund in the national bank for agriculture and rural development (NABARD) with an initial corpus of about Rs 20,000 crore. To achieve all these, a total provision of Rs 12,517 crore has been made through budgetary support and market borrowings in 2016-17. He also said that simultaneously a major programme for sustainable management of ground water resources has been prepared with an estimated cost of Rs 6,000 crore and proposed for multilateral funding. He said at least five lakh farm ponds and dug wells in rain-fed areas and 10 lakh compost pits for production of organic manure will be taken up by making use of allocations under MGNREGA.

Jaitley said the soil health card scheme will cover all 14 crore farm holdings by March 2017, adding that 2,000 model retail outlets of fertilizer companies will be provided with soil and seed testing facilities during the next three years.

In the budget, focus has been given to adequate and timely flow of credit to the farmers. Against the target of Rs 8.5 lakh crore in 2015-16, the target for agricultural credit in 2016-17 will be Rs 9 lakh crore. To reduce the burden of loan repayment on farmers, a provision of Rs 15,000 crore has been made towards interest subvention.
 

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