In pursuance of its objective to double the income of farmers in five years’ time, the government has significantly enhanced the allocations under most of the agri-economy directed schemes and programs including those related to farm credit, crop insurance, soil health, irrigation, market infrastructure, dairy farming among others. The agriculture industry welcomed the Union Budget and said it provides a much-needed boost to the rural economy.
The 24 percent increase in the agricultural allocation from Rs. 1,42,289 crore in 2016-17 to Rs. 1,87,223 crore in 2017-18 pointed out the government’s continuous focus on agriculture reforms to strengthen the rural economy.
“All the efforts including the all-time high annual allocation for the reformed MNREGA scheme will not only help improve the income levels in the rural areas of the country but also help generate a swathe of new jobs across vast parts of the nation. This is a clear boost for generating demand on a large scale,” said Pankaj Patel, President, FICCI.
“The rise in total allocation for rural, agriculture and allied sectors for 2017-18 by by 24% is very encouraging and would provide a much-needed boost to the rural economy. Apart from lowering interest rates on loan for farmers, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has also announced a slew of measures aimed at incentivizing farming. For instance, support to Nabard for 63,000 functional PACs over 3 years at an estimated cost of Rs 19,000 crores,” said Ankur Aggarwal, Managing Director, Crystal Crop Protection.
“One of the most commendable initiatives is the scaling up of the allocation to the Fasal Bima Yojana to Rs 9000 crores. The coverage under this crop insurance scheme has also been hiked to cover 40 percent of the cropped area during 2017-18.The budget also gives an indication of a stronger institutional and policy framework for the implementation of technology and its tools in Indian agricultural, which is really welcome," he added.
According to Rajesh Agarwal,MD, Insecticides (India) Limit, the Budget has put substantial focus on agriculture sector which is a really welcome move. The Finance Minister has announced certain measures to incentivise farming for instance reducing the interest rate on farm loans. This was much needed to make up for the losses the agriculture sector has suffered in the wake of demonetisation, he added.
Welcoming the the moves, the Industry, however, said that implementation will be more important than announcement. “The decision to set up a dedicated micro-irrigation fund with an initial corpus of Rs 5000 crore could make a difference in a country where much of agriculture depends on the vagaries of the seasonal monsoon rain", said Rajesh Agarwal.