The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 29 February 2016 presented the Annual Financial Statement or the Union Budget for 2016-17 in the Lok Sabha. In his budget speech the minister listed nine pillars on which the Government will focus to transform India into a developed nation.
The nine pillars are - Agriculture and farmers' welfare, rural sector, social sector including healthcare, education, skills and job creation, infrastructure, financial sector reforms, ease of doing business, fiscal discipline, tax reforms to reduce compliance burden.
Herein we present the new initiatives proposed and allocation made to rejuvenate agriculture sector and improve the livelihoods of farmers.
Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare
Vision & Objective: The vision is to move beyond the traditional idea of food security to income security. It will be achieved by making farmers profitable and agriculture profitable.
The objective is to reorient Government’s interventions in the farm and non-farm sectors so that the income of the farmers will be doubled by 2022.
Total allocation for Agriculture and Farmers’ welfare in 2016-17 will be 35984 crore rupees.
• New initiatives: A dedicated Long Term Irrigation Fund will be created in NABARD with an initial corpus of about 20000 crore rupees.
• In order to ensure the benefit of MSP reaches farmers in all parts of the country 3 specific initiatives will be taken up in 2016-17. They initiatives are
1) Encouraging remaining States to take up decentralized procurement
2) Undertaking an online Procurement System through the Food Corporation of India
3) Taking up effective arrangements for pulses procurement
• 850 crore rupees will be spent on 4 new dairying projects. They are –
1) Pashudhan Sanjivani, an animal wellness programme and provision of Animal Health Cards (Nakul Swasthya Patra)
2) Programme on Advanced Breeding Technology
3) Creation of E-Pashudhan Haat, an e market portal for connecting breeders and farmers
4) Nakul Swasthya Patra, E-Pashudhan Haat and National Genomic Centre for indigenous breeds
• A Unified Agricultural Marketing ePlatform will be set up to provide a common emarket platform for wholesale markets. It will be dedicated to the nation on the birthday of Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar on 14 April 2016.
• Irrigation: Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana will be implemented in mission mode. Under the scheme which was approved by the Union Government in July 2015 28.5 lakh hectares will be brought under irrigation.
• Implementation of 89 irrigation projects covering 80.6 lakh hectares under Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP), which are languishing for a long time, will be fast tracked.
• 5 lakh farm ponds and dug wells in rain fed areas and 10 lakh compost pits for production of organic manure will be taken up under MGNREGA.
• Credit facilities: Against the target of 8.5 lakh crore rupees in 2015-16, the target for agricultural credit in 2016-17 will be an all-time high of 9 lakh crore rupees.
• To reduce the burden of loan repayment on farmers, a provision of 15000 crore rupees has been made towards interest subvention in the BE 2016-17.
• Insurance: Allocation under Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana will be 5500 crore rupees. The scheme was approved by the Union Government in January 2016.
• Price Stabilization: 500 crores rupees have been allotted under National Food Security Mission to augment production of pulses. The number of districts covered increased to 622.
• Soil Fertility: Soil Health Card scheme will cover all 14 crore farm holdings by March 2017. 368 crore rupees has been provided for National Project on Soil Health and Fertility.
• 2000 model retail outlets of Fertilizer companies will be provided with soil and seed testing facilities during the next three years
• Promote organic farming will be promoted through Parmparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana and Organic Value Chain Development in North East Region.
• Mobilisation of resources: Krishi Kalyan Cess of 0.5 percentage will be imposed on all taxable service starting from 1 June 2016. The proceeds would be exclusively used for financing initiatives for improvement of agriculture and welfare of farmers.
• Surcharge levied at 7.5 pecentage of undisclosed income will be called Krishi Kalyan Surcharge (KKS) to be used for agriculture and rural economy.
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