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A look into Indian Agricultural Budget 2018-19

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Highlights: Budget Mission – To strengthen agriculture, rural development, health, education, employment, MSME and infrastructure sectors.

MSP for all unannounced kharif crops will be one and half times of their production cost like majority of rabi crops  Institutional Farm Credit raised to 11 lakh crore in 2018-19 from 8.5 lakh crore in 2014-15.

22,000 rural haats to be developed and upgraded into Gramin Agricultural Markets to protect the interests of 86% small and marginal farmers.

“Operation Greens” launched to address price fluctuations in potato, tomato and onion for benefit of farmers and consumers.

Two New Funds of Rs10,000 crore announced for Fisheries and Animal Husbandry sectors; Re-structured National Bamboo Mission gets Rs.1290 crore.

NITI Aayog to initiate a national programme on Artificial Intelligence(AI) – Centers of excellence to be set up on robotics, AI, Internet of things etc.

100 percent deduction proposed to companies registered as Farmer Producer Companies with an annual turnover up to Rs. 100 crore on profit derived from such activities, for five years from 2018-19.

Proposed changes in customs duty to promote creation of more jobs in the country and to incentivize domestic value addition and Make in India in sectors such as food processing.

Agriculture and Rural Economy Budget announcement:

Referring to the Government‟s commitment to the welfare of farmers and doubling farmer‟s income by 2022, the Finance Minister announced a slew of new schemes and measures.

Government has decided to keep MSP for all unannounced kharif crops atleast one and half times of their production cost after declaring the same for the majority of rabi cops.

The volume of institutional credit for agriculture sector from year-to-year increased from Rs.8.5 lakh crore in 2014-15 to Rs.10 lakh crore in 2017-18 and he proposed to raise this to Rs.11 lakh crore for the year 2018-19.

After the establishment of Dairy Infrastructure Fund, Shri Jaitley announced setting up a Fisheries and Aqua culture Infrastructure Development Fund (FAIDF) for fisheries sector and an Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) for financing infrastructure requirement of animal husbandry sector with a total corpus of Rs.10,000 crore for the two new funds.

On the lines of “Operation Flood”, a new Scheme “Operation Greens” announced with an outlay of Rs 500 Crore to address the challenge. of price volatility of perishable commodities like tomato, onion and potato with the satisfaction of both the farmers and consumers.

To develop and upgrade existing 22,000 rural haats into Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs) to take care of the interests of more than 86% small and marginal farmers. These GrAMs, electronically linked to e-NAM and exempted from regulations of APMCs, will provide farmers facility to make direct sale to consumers and bulk purchasers.

An Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund with a corpus of Rs.2000crore will be setup for developing and upgrading agricultural marketing infrastructure in the 22000 Grameen Agricultural Markets (GrAMs) and 585APMCs, so far 470 APMCs have connected to e-NAM network and rest will be connected by March 2018.

Rs 200 crore for organized cultivation of highly specialized medicinal and aromatic plants and said that the organic farming by Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and Village Producers Organizations (VPOs) in large clusters, preferably of 1000 hectares each will be encouraged. Allocation of Ministry of Food Processing has doubled from Rs.715 crore in 2017-18 to Rs.1400 crore in 2018-19.

Terming Bamboo as “Green Gold‟, the Finance Minister announced a Re-structured National Bamboo Mission with an outlay of Rs.1290 crore to promote bamboo sector in a holistic manner.

Under Prime Minister Krishi Sinchai YojnaHar Khet ko Pani, 96 deprived irrigation districts will be taken up with an allocation of Rs 2600 crore.

The Centre will work with the state governments to facilitate farmers for installing solar water pumps to irrigate their field. He also proposed to extend the facility of Kisan Credit Cards to fisheries and animal husbandry farmers to help them meet their working capital needs.

Shri Jaitley said India‟s agri-exports potential is as high as US $100 billion against current exports of US $30 billion and to realize this potential, export of agri-commodities will liberalized. He also proposed to set up state-of-the-art testing facilities in all the 42 Mega Food Parks. He also announced a special Scheme to support the efforts of the governments of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and the NCT of Delhi to address air pollution in the Delhi-NCR region by subsidizing machinery required for in-situ management of crop residue.

Rupees 42,500 crore in 2016-17, growing 37% over previous year and expressed confidence that loans to SHGs will increase to Rs.75,000 crore by March, 2019. Jaitley substantially increased allocation of National Rural Livelihood Mission to Rs 5750 crore Referring to the measures taken for the benefit of lower and middle class.

The Finance Minister said, under Ujjwala Scheme distribution of free LPG connections will be given to 8 crore poor women instead of the previous target of 5 crore women. Under Saubahagya Yojana, 4 crore poor households are being provided with electricity connection with an outlay of Rs.16,000 crore.

To fulfil target of housing for All by 2022 ,more than one crore houses will be built by 2019 in rural areas, besides already constructed 6 crore toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission.

Shri Jaitley stressed that the focus of the Government next year will be on providing maximum livelihood opportunities in the rural areas by spending more on livelihood, agriculture and allied activities and construction of rural infrastructure.

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