Agri Business

‘Generous with words, stingy with funds’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 27, 2018 Published on February 29, 2016

Terming the Budget as “long on promise, short on delivery”, Kisan Sansad – an umbrella of 35 organisations – said projecting it as a boost to the farm sector was a “cruel joke on farmers.”

“When 40 per cent of the nation is reeling under drought, when thousands of farmers are committing suicide due to indebtedness, a major bailout package was expected from the government, which includes interest waiver, debt swapping of private loans with bank loans, and disaster compensation,” it said in a statement, reminding the government that when the corporate sector was under stress in 2008-09, they got a ₹300,000-crore bailout package.

It said the Narendra Modi government was attempting an “image makeover” by projecting the Budget as pro-farmer, but it had been “generous with words and stingy with funds.”

With drought and unseasonal rains and hailstorm damaging crops, farmers had demanded a disaster compensation of ₹10,000/acre, but no increase has been announced from the current level of ₹3,000-4,000/acre,’ said the Kisan Sansad, calling for a statutory, permanent Farmers’ Income Commission and a Farmers’ Income Guarantee Act to assure a minimum living income to farming households.

Terming the Finance Minister’s speech as “business as usual”, Swaraj Abhiyan, which is part of the Kisan Sansad, said the outlay of ₹35,984 crore to agriculture is being projected as a major increase but “in reality, it is a pittance.” “In 2014-15, the outlay was ₹31,000 crore, which was drastically reduced to ₹24,910 crore in 2015-16, and now increased to ₹35,984 crore. Less than 3.5 per cent of the entire Budget is going to agriculture when 55 per cent of India’s population depends on agriculture and in a year when farmers are facing their worst crisis,” it added.

However, it welcomed the target of bringing additional 28.5 lakh hectares under irrigation in five years.

Published on February 29, 2016
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