Agri Business

Allocation for farm, allied sectors stepped up by 24%

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on January 12, 2018

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In a major push to the rural, agriculture and allied sectors, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hiked the allocation by 24 per cent to a record Rs 1,87,223 crore for 2017-18.

Presenting his fourth Budget, Jaitley said the agriculture credit target has been fixed at Rs 10 lakh crore for 2017-18 and there would be special efforts to ensure that adequate credit flows to the under-served eastern states and Jammu & Kashmir.

Jaitley hiked the allocation for the crop insurance scheme, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, to Rs 9,000 crore for 2017-18. Coverage under the crop insurance scheme will be increased to 40 per cent of the cropped area during 2017-18 and 50 per cent in 2018-19, up from 30 per cent in the current financial year.

The e-National Agricultural Market (e-NAM) will be expanded to cover 585 agricultural produce market committees as against 250 this year. In a bid to boost post harvest facilities, assistance of up to Rs 75 lakh will be provided to each e-NAM market for establishment of cleaning, grading and packaging facilities that could enhance the value addition of farmers’ produce.

In a bid to further expedite agriculture market reforms, the states would be urged to denotify perishables from APMCs. "This will give an opportunity to farmers to sell their produce and get better prices," Jaitley said, while adding that the government proposes to integrate farmers who grow fruits and vegetables with agro-processing units for better price realisation and reduction of post-harvest losses. A model law on contract farming would, therefore, be prepared and circulated among the states for adoption," he added.

The agriculture sector, Jaitley said, is expected to grow at 4.1 per cent during the current year on a good monsoon, and sowing areas in both the kharif and rabi seasons have been higher than last year. A dedicated micro-irrigation fund will be set up by Nabard with a corpus of Rs 5,000 crore to give a further impetus to micro irrigation.

Jaitley further said the issuance of soil health cards has gathered momentum and mini-labs would be set up in all the 648 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) to step up the issuance of soil health cards. About 5,000 farm ponds will be created during 2017-18 under MNREGA.

Stating that dairy is an important source of additional income for farmers, he said the government will set up a dairy processing fund of Rs 8,000 crore over three years with initial corpus of Rs 2,000 crore.

Published on February 01, 2017

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