Agriculture and Rural Economy Budget 2018 or 2019…Report


Agriculture and Rural Economy


Referring to the Government‟s commitment to the welfare of farmers and doubling
farmers‟ income by 2022, the Finance Minister announced a slew of new schemes and measures.
He said ,that government has decided to keep MSP for all unannounced kharif crops atleast one
and half times of their production cost after declaring the same for the majority of rabi cops. He
said,the volume of institutional credit for agriculture sector from year-to-year increased from
Rs.8.5 lakh crore in 2014-15 to Rs.10 lakh crore in 2017-18 and he proposed to raise this to
Rs.11 lakh crore for the year 2018-19. After the establishment of Dairy Infrastructure Fund, Shri
Jaitley announced setting up a Fisheries and Aqua culture Infrastructure Development Fund
(FAIDF) for fisheries sector and an Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund
(AHIDF) for financing infrastructure requirement of animal husbandry sector with a total corpus
of Rs.10,000 crore for the two new funds. On the lines of „„Operation Flood‟‟ a new Scheme
„„Operation Greens‟‟ was announced with an outlay of Rs 500 Crore to address the challenge of
price volatility of perishable commodities like tomato, onion and potato with the satisfaction of
both the farmers and consumers. He also announced to develop and upgrade existing 22,000
rural haats into Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs) to take care of the interests of more than
86% small and marginal farmers. These GrAMs, electronically linked to e-NAM and exempted
from regulations of APMCs, will provide farmers facility to make direct sale to consumers and
bulk purchasers. Moreover, an Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund with a corpus of Rs.2000 crore
will be setup for developing and upgrading agricultural marketing infrastructure in the 22000
Grameen Agricultural Markets (GrAMs) and 585APMCs. He said, so far 470 APMCs have been
connected to e-NAM network and rest will be connected by March, 2018. Shri Jaitley announced
Rs 200 crore for organized cultivation of highly specialized medicinal and aromatic plants and
said that the organic farming by Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and Village Producers‟
Organizations (VPOs) in large clusters, preferably of 1000 hectares each will be encouraged.
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Similarly, allocation of Ministry of Food Processing has been doubled from Rs.715 crore in
2017-18 to Rs.1400 crore in 2018-19. Terming Bamboo as „Green Gold‟, the Finance Minister
announced a Re-structured National Bamboo Mission with an outlay of Rs.1290 crore to
promote bamboo sector in a holistic manner. Under Prime Minister Krishi Sinchai Yojna-Har
Khet ko Pani, 96 deprived irrigation districts will be taken up with an allocation of Rs 2600
crore. The Centre will work with the state governments to facilitate farmers for installing solar
water pumps to irrigate their fields. He also proposed to extend the facility of Kisan Credit Cards
to fisheries and animal husbandry farmers to help them meet their working capital needs. Shri
Jaitley said India‟s agri-exports potential is as high as US $100 billion against current exports of
US $30 billion and to realize this potential, export of agri-commodities will be liberalized. He
also proposed to set up state-of-the-art testing facilities in all the forty two Mega Food Parks. He
also announced a special Scheme to support the efforts of the governments of Haryana, Punjab,
Uttar Pradesh and the NCT of Delhi to address air pollution in the Delhi-NCR region by
subsidizing machinery required for in-situ management of crop residue.

On the loans to Self Help Groups of women, the Finance Minister said it increased to
about Rupees 42,500 crore in 2016-17, growing 37% over previous year and expressed
confidence that loans to SHGs will increase to Rs.75,000 crore by March, 2019. He also
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substantially increased allocation of National Rural Livelihood Mission to Rs 5750 crore in
2018-19.
Referring to the measures taken for the benefit of lower and middle class, the Finance
Minister said, under Ujjwala Scheme distribution of free LPG connections will be given to 8
crore poor women instead of the previous target of 5 crore women. Under Saubahagya Yojana, 4
crore poor households are being provided with electricity connection with an outlay of Rs.16,000
crore. To fulfil target of housing for All by 2022 ,more than one crore houses will be built by
2019 in rural areas, besides already constructed 6 crore toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission.
Shri Jaitley stressed that the focus of the Government next year will be on providing
maximum livelihood opportunities in the rural areas by spending more on livelihood, agriculture
and allied activities and construction of rural infrastructure. He said, in the year 2018-19, for
creation of livelihood and infrastructure in rural areas, total amount to be spent by the Ministries
will be Rs.14.34 lakh crore, including extra-budgetary and non-budgetary resources of Rs.11.98
lakh crore. Apart from employment due to farming activities and self employment, this
expenditure will create employment of 321 crore person days, 3.17 lakh kilometers of rural
roads, 51 lakh new rural houses, 1.88 crore toilets, and provide 1.75 crore new household electric
connections besides boosting agricultural growth.

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