Can Modi's Budget 2017 pave the road to double farm income?
Agriculture sectors and farmers become the cornerstone of every budget in India. Union Budget 2017 seems to be no different.
With good monsoons and 7th Pay Commission bounty, analysts expect rural India to do well. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetisation programme that started on November 9, 2016 has put a spanner in his works.
Therefore, it is imperative that PM Modi focuses on rural India and farmers in Budget 2017 as most of India's growth and employment is still dependent on farm sector.
Last budget brought in various measures for the rural sector. For the welfare of agriculture and farmers, the Union Cabinet allocated Rs 35,984 crore.
Ajay Vir Jakhar Chairman of Bharat Krishak Samaj, in IANS report stated, that farmers growing perishables like fruits and vegetables have suffered losses of Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000 per acre on an average this fiscal.
Rural areas, which hold 70% of India's population and a large portion of GDP, should be given top priority in 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 Sadak Yojan and Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana with Rs 19,000 crore and Rs 5,500 crore respectively, with an aim to connect 65,000 eligible habitations by 2019.
Furthermore, to reduce the loan repayment burdens on farmers, a provision of Rs 15000 crore was made in the budget estimates.
Other initiatives like allocation of Rs 850 crore for four dairying projects - ‘Pashudhan Sanjivani’ (An animal wellness program), ‘Nakul Swasthya Patra’ (Animal Health Cards), ‘E-Pashudhan Haat’ (an e-market portal for connecting breeders and farmers) and National Genomic Centre for indigenous breeds were also made.
Overall rural sector was allocated Rs 87,765 crore in the Union Budget 2016-17.
Devandra Sharma, an agriculture economist said Zee Business, "For farmers, this budget can bring hike in loan amount to Rs 10 lakh crore from the assigned Rs 9 lakh crore in last budget."
"More investment can be infused in the irrigation sector.But when talking about living income of citizen in India, the farmers may be expecting a rise in income this budget, as presently it is quite low," he said.
Average income of farmers in India is somewhere Rs 6,000 per month. Earlier PM Narendra Modi had announced a road map with a promise to double the income of farmers taking the average approximately at Rs 12,800 by 2022.
Recently, the government said, it will be implementing a number of schemes to provide financial support to the farmers, including small and marginal farmers in the country.
These schemes include: provision for supply of seeds, plant protection, chemicals, nutrients, agriculture machinery and equipment, agricultural credit at subsidized rates to the farmers with special focus on small, marginal and medium farmers.