Budget 2021

Budget fails to enthuse farmers

K V Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on February 02, 2021

Funds for agri, PM-KISAN, NREGA pruned: Unions

The Budget has failed to impress the farming community. Leaders of several farmers’ unions have said that the budgetary allocations for agriculture has been cut down and no sincere effort was made to address the crises that the primary sector is facing.

Besides, the allocations for the financial assistance scheme PM-KISAN and job guarantee scheme NREGA have also been cut, they alleged.

“The Union Budget 2021-22 has proved the farmers’ apprehensions right – that this government is on a path of withdrawing support to agriculture, not strengthening it,” the unions said.

“Despite the huge farmers’ protests and deep discontent at their economic plight, the Government gave the lowest priority to agriculture in this Budget,” they said.

The share of agriculture and allied activities in the total Budget has fallen dramatically from 5.1 per cent to 4.3 per cent. In absolute terms, the allocation fell from ₹ 1.54 lakh crore to ₹ 1.48 lakh crore.

“The sector needs a lot of financial support. All the institutional credit allocated for the sector is being usurped by the agricultural companies. But the real farmers are getting only 30 per cent of the total credit disbursements,” Vemulapalli Venkataramaiah, President of All-India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS), told Business Line.

“The Government claims that it is pro-farmer but the Budget doesn’t reflect its intention,” he said.

Stating that the agricultural sector is beset with unemployment problem, he said there was a need to set up agri-based industries to promote livelihood opportunities in rural areas.

The All-India Sabha Sabha (AIKS) has alleged that the Budget had completely disregarded the farmers protesting across the country, demanding fair prices for their produce. The Budgetary allocation for the PM-Kisan scheme had been reduced to ₹ 65,000 crore as against ₹ 75,000 crore allocated last year.

“We are entering the fifth and final year for meeting the target of doubling farmers, but there is no update on its progress,” Yogendra Yadav, President of Swaraj India, said.

‘Empty Budget’

Terming the Budget ‘empty’ for farmers, he said the Government was not looking at addressing the slowdown by putting resources in the pockets of the people at the bottom. “Instead it using this crisis as an opportunity to implement economic reforms that corporate India has been demanding,” he said.

“We had demanded that the PM-KISAN scheme should be modified to credit the amount to the accounts of the women in the farming households instead of the land patta holders who are typically men. We see that the support base has not gone beyond 9 crore households whereas the target was 14.5 crore households,” Kavita Kuruganti of Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), said.

The Rythu Swarajya Vedika (RSV) has said that there was no estimate of how much funds that the new agri cess would generate. “It is not clear how big the kitty would be and how it is going to be utilised,” RSV leader Ravi Kanneganti said.

He said the allocations for market intervention and price support schemes were way lower than last year’s allocations. “They said they would continue with the procurement at the MSP but there is no assurance given in the Budget in the form of allocations for the same,” he said.

Published on February 01, 2021

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