Even as the farmers protest against the Centre's three contentious farm laws at the borders of Delhi for over three months now, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget 2021–22 speech on 1 February 2021 said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government is committed to farmers' welfare.
The Minimum Support Price (MSP)—the issue at the heart of the farmers' protests—has undergone a change to assure a price that is at least 1.5 times the cost of production across all commodities, said the Finance Minister.
"Procurement has also continued to increase at a steady pace. This has resulted in increase in payment to farmers substantially. In [the] case of wheat, [the] total payment made to farmers in 2013–14 was Rs 33,874 crore. In 2019–20, it was Rs 62,802 crore. In 2020–21, it was Rs 75,060 crore."
Speaking about the agriculture sector, she added that 1,000 more mandis will be integrated with e-Nam (National Agriculture Market).
Agri credit target has been enhanced to Rs 16.5 trillion for FY22, Sitharaman said.
Breaking with tradition, this year's Budget is paperless in view of the COVID-19 precautions.
At the beginning of the joint session of Parliament on Friday, PM Modi had also said that the Finance Minister had already announced three to four mini budgets, and that the 2021–22 Budget would be a historic.
After an estimated 7.7 per cent contraction in 2020–21, the Economic Survey presented by Sitharaman on Friday has projected that India's real GDP would record a growth of 11 per cent in 2021–22. The nominal GDP growth has been estimated at 15.4 per cent, implying an assumption of 4.4 per cent inflation during the year.
Sitharaman had then asserted that this year's Budget will be "a Budget like never before."
It is expected that the Budget will help to revive various sectors like agriculture, infrastructure, healthcare, rural economy, and MSMEs, which have been the hardest-hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns imposed.
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