Farmers, rural employment and infrastructure development are the focus areas of Budget 2017, finance minister Arun Jaitley said. “The government will continue to work closely with farmers to improve their life and environment. With a better monsoon, Agriculture is expected to grow at 4.1% in current year,” the minister said. Here are the top points on agriculture in Budget 2017:

  • Higher spend on MGNREGS and rural roads can increase employment opportunities and help create productive assets for rural areas.
  • Fertilizer subsidy for 2017-18 is at Rs 70,000 crore, similar to 2016-17. According to ICRA, subsidy for P&K (phosphorous and potash) fertilizers in the nutrient-based subsidy scheme has been hiked marginally.
  • Agricultural credit target for 2017-18 is fixed at Rs10 trillion, an 11% increase from the 2016-17 target of Rs9 trillion.
  • Budgetary provision for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) is at Rs 48,000 crore, up from the Rs 47,499 crore revised estimate for FY17.
  • Total allocation for rural, agriculture and allied sectors is Rs1,87,223 crore, 24% higher than a year ago.
  • Coverage of crop insurance scheme Fasal Bima Yojana is to be increased from 30% of cropped area in 2016-17 to 40% in 2017-18 and 50% in 2018-19. Provision of Rs5,500 crore for this scheme in 2016-17 was raised to Rs9,000 crore.
  • A dedicated micro irrigation fund is to be set up at the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), with an initial corpus of Rs 5,000 crore.
  • Rural roads construction scheme Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) gets Rs19,000 crore. Adding the contribution of states, an amount of Rs 27,000 crore is budgeted to be spent on PMGSY in 2017-18.
  • Coverage of the National Agricultural Market (e-NAM) will be expanded from the current 250 to 585 markets to enable farmers to get better prices.
  • The government to support computerization and integration of Primary Agriculture Credit Societies (PACS), which act as the front end for loan disbursements.
  • Government plans to integrate farmers who grow fruits and vegetables with agro processing units for better price realization and reduction of post-harvest losses.
  • A model law on contract farming is to be prepared and circulated among states for adoption.
  • An expert panel is to be constituted to study and prepare a framework to integrate spot and derivatives markets for commodities.

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