The marginal increase in the allocation of funds to commodities boards has brought some cheer as it will help them clear pending dues.
The higher allocation to commodities boards was one of the demands put forward by United Planters Association of South India (Upasi) in its budget wish-list, as considerable reduction in allotment of funds had adversely affected the plantation sector. Due to the reduction, many of the boards were not in a position to disburse the dues to growers under various developmental schemes.
KN Raghavan, Executive Director, Rubber Board, said the fund allocation for the Board in the budget was ₹221.34 crore. Additionally the revised estimate for the current fiscal has been significantly raised to ₹242 crore from the earlier sanction, which was ₹170 crore. The allotment to the Board during 2018-19 was ₹172.22 crore.
The Board will use the increased allotment to clear, to the maximum possible extent, the subsidy due to small rubber growers, which has been lying in arrears for a few years. He also said the Board would explore avenues for introducing new schemes for promoting rubber cultivation, strengthening of farmers’ collectives, improvement of quality and upgrading of research and training facilities.
The Spices Board has received ₹120-crore funding in the budget, which showed an increase of ₹13 crore from last year. This is an initial allocation and during the course, it will be increased as in previous years, a senior official said.
The allocation of funds to Tea Board has increased by ₹47.64 crore to touch ₹200 crore, while Coffee Board by ₹48 crore to ₹225 crore.
RM.Nagappan, Upasi president, pointed out that there was no specific announcement for the plantation sector, which is in crisis. Even fixing an MSP for plantation commodities based on the recommendations of MS Swaminathan Committee to ensure a remunerative price for the growers has not been done in the budget, he said.