It is now widely recognised and reported that farmers in India face a distressing situation. During 1995-96 to 2015-16, regarding 3 lakh farmers within the country committed suicide due to economic distress and depression. Agriculture sectors and farmers become the cornerstone of each budget in India. Union Budget 2017 looks to be no completely different.
With smart monsoons and 7th Pay Commission bounty, analysts expect rural India to try and do well. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s demonetization programme that started on November 9, 2016 has place a spanner in his works. Therefore, it’s imperative that PM Modi focuses on rural India and farmers in Budget 2017 as most of India’s growth and employment remains dependent on farm sector.
Budget Report 2017 :Does Budget Meet Farmers Expectations?
Last budget brought in various measures for the agricultural sector. For the welfare of agriculture and farmers, the Union cabinet allocated Rs 35,984 crore. Ajay VirJakhar Chairman of India KrishakSamaj, in IANS report declared, that farmers growing perishables. Hence like fruits and vegetables have suffered losses of Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000 per acre on an average this fiscal. Rural areas, that hold 70% of India’s population and an outsized portion of gross domestic product, should tend top priority within the forthcoming budget.
Some of the key measures taken by government were – a dedicated long term irrigation fund created in NABARD with an initial corpus of Rs 20,000 crore. Also funds were assigned in schemes like Pradhan Mantri Gram SadakYojan and Prime Minister FasalBima Yojana with Rs 19,000 crore and Rs 5,500 crore severally. Since with an aim to attach 65,000 eligible habitations by 2019.
Furthermore, to reduce the loan repayment burdens on farmers, a provision of Rs 15000 crore was created in the budget estimates.
Other initiatives like allocation of Rs 850 crore for four dairying projects. They are ‘PashudhanSanjivani’ (An animal wellness program), ‘Nakul Swasthya Patra’ (Animal Health Cards), ‘E-PashudhanHaat’ (an e-market portal for connecting breeders and farmers) and National Genomic Centre for native breeds were also created. Overall rural sector was allocated Rs 87,765 crore in the Union Budget 2016-17.
It is true that during the past 2 years, the Centre launched a number of schemes for revival of agricultural growth and farmers’ welfare. These include (i) soil testing and issue of soil health card to farmers to enable them to use fertilisers during a balanced manner. (ii) organic farming mission for restoring soil health and sustainability of agriculture. (iii) Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana to cut back risk in crop production. (iv) e-national market for enabling farmers to access agricultural market and higher price retaliation for their produce.
These schemes can continue with larger efficiency and outreach this year. Besides exaggerated public investment in irrigation, particularly for finishing the unfinished irrigation comes. And provision for increased agricultural credit provide were created within the take into account 2014-15 through 2016-17. Sadly, owing to unfavorable climatical things in 2014-15 and 2015-16 the advantages of all such initiatives by the govt. remained unrealized. The budget for 2017-18 is also within the same expected direction. Hence even if farmers expected a bit a lot of this point.
The key positive features of the budget for this year is that it’s allocated Rs. 1,87,223 crore for agriculture and rural development, that is 24 % higher than last year. Also, so as to push personal investment by farmers, the Budget has created an all-time high provision of Rs 10 lakh crore for agricultural credit in 2017-18. There’s target raised institutional credit offer to farmers in unserviced areas, particularly eastern India. An effort also will be created to integrate primary agricultural co-operative credit societies with district co-operative banks, that Rs 1900 crore has been allocated.
This is likely to boost the credit supply to farmers. Besides, the scope of Pradhan MantriFasalBima Yojana will beraised and an increased allocation has been created for crop insurance. Moreover, Rs 75 lakh per market has been provided for development of the marketing infrastructure in 585 wholesale markets. This is often supposed to enable the farmers to get higher value for their produce. Also, the Budget talks of fast the pace of agricultural marketing reforms as well as formulating a model law for contract farming. Furthermore, a dedicated small irrigation fund of Rs 5,000 crore. Which has been created in NABARD for promotion of small irrigation for larger water use efficiency in agriculture.
Similarly, dairy processing infrastructure fund will be created under NABARD, with an allocation of Rs 8000 crore. Additionally, the Budget has provided for making 5 lakh ponds under MGNREGS for irrigation and drought proofing. A highest ever allocation for MGNREGS of Rs. 48,000 croreF has been created, with focus on asset creation and utilization which can help improve income of individuals in rural areas, as well as farmers.
On the whole, the budget for the year 2017-18 is good from the point of view farmers. However, they had higher expectations. particularly there was an expectation that interest rate on crop loan as well as investment loan are well reduced now. In order that they could access higher credit at lower price for up farm productivity. Nevertheless, agriculture and rural sector got an increased allocation within the Budget this year and thus, it’s a welcome step.