Fin Min gives Rs 20,791 cr boost to farm sector

| | New Delhi

To achieve the target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022 and ensure proper funds to schemes related to farmers’ welfare, the Finance Ministry has increased Rs 20,791 crore more in the budget allocation for the agriculture sector for 2017-18. The increase, from Rs 41,585 crore to Rs 62,376-crore, has been made to ensure proper funds to the farmers’ related schemes.

This was announced by Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Tuesday at a two-day Rabi Conference in the national Capital. The fund allocation for the agriculture sector was Rs 39,500 crore in 2016-17. In 2015-16, the Budget for agriculture was Rs 15,809 crore.

The Minister urged State Governments to chalk out their own strategy to achieve the target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022 after an inter-ministerial committee on doubling farmers’ income said in its report that country needs a whopping investment of Rs 6,399 billion for doubling farmers’ real income by 2022-23. Of these, Rs 5,080.8 billion is required from public sector and Rs 1,318.4 billion from private sector for all the major States.

Singh said that the Centre has already come out with a four-volume report suggesting ways to boost farmers’ income, in which States will have to study and see how best it can be implemented for better results. “The Government has launched several schemes like Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY), Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, Soil Health Card scheme, neem-coated urea and electronic national agriculture market (e-NAM) to achieve the target of doubling farmers’ income,” he said, adding that States to take e-NAM project seriously and put in place infrastructure to facilitate farmers to trade online. “Once this is in place, farmers will get remunerative price and help in doubling income.”

While implementing these schemes, the Minister said, States have to “devise their own strategy” to boost farmers’ income by focusing on production-to-post-harvest activities. “It is our responsibility to make special efforts to improve the agricultural sector so that it provides strong trade opportunities,” he added.

As per budget allocation, the coverage of Fasal Bima Yojana will be increased from 30 per cent of cropped area in 2016-17 to 40 per cent in 2017-18 and 50 percent in 2018-19. For 2017-18, an amount of Rs 9,000 crore has been provided. “The Agriculture Ministry needs a huge amount to implement its all scheme properly and to ensure doubling of farmers income,” said agriculture officials on the condition of anonymity.

Echoing similar views, Agriculture Secretary SK Pattanayak said, “Doubling farmers’ income by 2022 should be the mantra and all of us should be working towards it. The seven key schemes have to be operationalised at field level.”

To ensure farmers get support price in times of price crash, the secretary said, the centre has drafted a new market assurance scheme and asked states to study and share how they wish to implement. Ministers of

State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and

Krishna Raj were also present at the event.



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