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Rupee for kisan, dollar for education

Focus is on helping farmers become competitive with liberal agri markets & state support for livestock, fisheries.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Feb 02, 2020, 08.46 AM IST
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Rural India will get a heavy dose of investment to help farmers become competitive with liberal agricultural markets and state support for livestock, beekeeping and fisheries, along with a scheme to generate steady income from selling solar energy from panels erected on barren land.

The budget allocated Rs 2.83 lakh crore for rural India – Rs 1.60 lakh crore for farming, irrigation and related activities, and Rs 1.23 lakh crore for rural development and Panchayati Raj.

“Distortions in farm and livestock markets need to be removed. Purchase of farm produce, logistics and agri-services need copious investments. Substantial support and hand-holding of farm-based activities such as livestock, apiary and fisheries need to be provided for. Farmers desire integrated solutions covering storage, financing, processing and marketing,” finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in her budget speech.


She also said the government would promote efficient warehousing facilities at block level under public-private partnership model.

Experts said the move would help farmers. “This is a good initiative. We have seen successful road projects under viability gap funding (VGF). This model can bring warehousing solutions to storage problems we are grappling with,” said PK Joshi, fellow at the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

For better market access, the government will help farmers transport agri-commodities to national and international markets through flights. For this, the civil aviation ministry will launch Krishi Udaan scheme on national and international routes.

“This will immensely help improve value realisation, especially in Northeast and tribal districts,” said Sitharaman.

Industry executives welcomed the budget’s thrust on agriculture. “We welcome the continuing emphasis on agriculture and healthcare in the Union Budget. These sectors are foundational to both welfare and the economy,” said D Narain, managing director, Bayer CropScience Ltd.

The FM also proposed a village storage scheme to be run by self-help groups.

Sitharaman said the government will increase credit penetration by expanding the Nabard refinance scheme. It will help give easy credit access to farmers. The target for 2020-21 has been set at Rs 15 lakh crore, which will also cover all the eligible beneficiaries of PM-KISAN minimum income support scheme through Kisan Credit Cards.

(With inputs from Jayashree Bhosale)

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