New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with Economic Affairs Secretary Atanu Chakraborty (R) during the post-budget press conference in New Delhi, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2020-21 in the Lok Sabha today.
New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with Economic Affairs Secretary Atanu Chakraborty (R) during the post-budget press conference in New Delhi, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2020-21 in the Lok Sabha today.
PTI Photo

In a bid to address the present agrarian crisis and thereby help achieve the target of doubling farmers income by 2022, the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has set an ambitious target of agriculture credit of Rs 15 lakh crore, extension of NABARD refinance scheme and released 16 action points to boost the farm growth. She has announced a budget of Rs 2.83 lakh crore for agriculture and allied activities, irrigation and rural development for the 2020-21 financial year.

FM has announced comprehensive measures for 100 water-stressed districts being proposed. For better marketing and export, supporting states will focus on one product for one district, so that high focus is given at district level for horticulture to gain momentum. Further, financing on negotiable warehousing receipts will be integrated with e- National Agricultural Market.

Sitharaman said the Krishi UDAN will be launched by Ministry of Civil Aviation on international and national routes, improving value realization in North East and tribal districts. Moreover, Indian Railways will set up Kisan Rail through PPP arrangement, for transportation of perishable goods.

Confederation of Indian Industry President Vikram Kirloskar said the FM's announcements related to agriculture is specially encouraging to states who adopt model laws, will pave the way for adoption of the much needed agriculture reforms, leading to better returns for the farmers as well as enhanced private sector engagement with agriculture.

Budget encourages balanced use of all fertilizers, a necessary step to change the incentive regime which encourages excessive use of chemical fertilizers. Farmers who have fallow or barren land will be helped to set up solar power generation units and also sell surplus power to the solar grid. Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) will be expanded to provide 20 lakh farmers in setting up standalone solar pumps and milk processing capacity to be doubled by 2025.

As far as fish production is concerned, it will be raised to 200 lakh tonnes by 2022-23. Framework for development, management and conservation of marine fishery resources to be put in place. Fishery extension work to be enabled by rural youth as 'Sagar Mitras', forming 500 fish farmer producing organizations.

Village Storage Scheme run by self-help groups, will provide holding capacity for farmers, women in villages can regain their status as Dhaanya Lakshmi. Warehouses will be set up and the Centre will provide viability gap funding for the same.

Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry President Dr. Sangita Reddy said that it expects more money will be left in the hands of the people because of FM's proposal to invoke the deviation clause in Fiscal Responsibility & Budgetary Management Act and relaxing the fiscal deficit to 3.8%. ''More money in the hands of the people will spur consumption and industrial growth. Much of this money will go towards capital expenditure in agriculture and infrastructure which are the two areas that can have the maximum growth enhancing impact,'' she noted.

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