Budget 2020

Budget2020: Dedicated air, rail transport for farm produce an important step forward

T.V. Jayan | Updated on February 01, 2020 Published on February 01, 2020

The wholesale price of the Jyoti variety shot up to Rs. 1,050 a quintal in the first week of May, from Rs. 520-530 at the end of March SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

Dedicated planes and trains to transport perishable agriculture produce from far-flung places, and mapping and geotagging the existing 152 million tonnes of storage place available for agricultural produce, are among the Budget highlights for the agricultural sector.

The budget saw only a marginal increase in allocation for agricultural and allied sectors after adjusting for inflation. The allocation for the sector in the Budget stood at Rs 1.6 lakh crore against the previous year’s Rs 1.48 lakh crore.

The mapping and geotagging of warehouses, cold storages and refeer van facilities in an effort to streamline agricultural storage is expected to help set up warehouses in blocks or taluks with the help of the private sector, for which the government would provide viability gap funding.

"The Krishi Udaan and Kisan Rail schemes are a welcome change in the Budget presentation. These schemes will play a pivotal role in the proposed 16-point action plan to boost agriculture and farmer welfare. If formulated and implemented well, these schemes will be the ‘different set of solutions’ that the agriculture sector has been longing for," said Ajay Sawhney, a Partner at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas.

The Budget also earmarked a sum of Rs 15 lakh crore for the NABARD re-finance scheme, which would be distributed through Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs) and cooperatives active in agriculture credit.

Another focus area is the fisheries sector. The government has targeted an output of 200 lakh tonnes by 2022-23, from 126 lakh tonnes in 2017-18. The government also wants to increase marine exports to Rs 1 lakh crore by 2024-25, from Rs 45,000 crore in 2017-18. The Budget has provided for setting up 500 farmer producer organisations (FPOs) for the fisheries sector and employing an additional 3,477 fisheries extension professionals called Sagar Mitras.

The Budget has estimated that the Jal Jeevan Mission, which aims to provide tap water in every household in the country by 2024, would cost Rs 3,60,000 crore. The scheme would focus on augmenting local water sources, recharging existing sources and promoting water harvesting and de-salination. The government plans to cover all cities with a population of more than 1 million in the current year and a sum of Rs 11,500 crore has been earmarked for 2020-21.

Published on February 01, 2020
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