The Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech, has announced Operation Green on the lines of Operation Flood for enhancing the production of tomato, onion and potatoes. A sum of Rs 500 crore has been allocated for this new measure. Jaitley also announced that for the forthcoming Kharif season, the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops will be 1.5 times the cost incurred by farmers. This will help increase farmers' income. He also said that 470 Agriculture Produce Market' Committee (APMC) promoted markets would be connected to the e-nam market platform, and 22,000 Gramin agriculture markets will also be developed.
Populist measures Agriculture expert, Jagadish Sunkad, said that the Finance Minister has announced a lot of populist measures for agriculture, therefore the fineprint of the budget is awaited for understanding the true impact of the measures.
Linking of MSP with the cost of cultivation is unusual measure as the cost of cultivation of crops varies across the country. How this linkage would be executed is a atter of wait and watch, he said. Sunkad, who has been a consultant with ADB said that linking of e-nam market platform with APMCs is a farce as no data on the performance of the market platform has been disclosed. On the other hand, farmers are still selling their produce through commission agents. The budget has also increased the credit to agriculture sector from Rs 10 lakh crore to Rs 11 lakh crore. But the farmers of the country are already reeling under past debts. Are the farmers in a position to take new debts? he asked.