New Delhi : Farmer groups and agriculture experts asked the government to provide loans of up to Rs 5 lakh to all farmers at 4 per cent interest and sought higher support price, increased coverage of crop insurance and consistent export policy.

During pre-Budget consultations, fertiliser industry body FAI sought introduction of direct transfer of urea subsidy to farmers and higher budget allocation for next three years to clear arrears of Rs 50,000 crore.

At the meeting held here with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, experts recommended exemption of income tax on profit made by farmer producers organisations and agri-cooperatives, creation of buffer stock of milk powder and outright ban or increase in import duty of butter oil and imposition of safeguard duty on import of rubber.

According to farmer body Bharat Krishak Samaj Chairman Ajay Vir Jakhar the government should “double the number of farmers receiving loans up to Rs 2 lakh and for that charge only 1 per cent interest. Link Aadhar to such loan accounts to avoid duplication.”

After a pre-Budget meeting with representatives of the farm sector, Jaitley said there was a need for more investment in the agriculture sector. The FM will meet financial sector representatives and regulators on Jan 11, while another meeting with social sector representatives is scheduled for Jan 12.   -Agencies

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