NEW DELHI, 1 February 2020: Providing a huge boost to the farming sector, Indian finance minister Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman in her second financial budget set agriculture credit target of USD 209 billion (INR 15 lakh crore) for the year 2020-21.
She stated that all eligible beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) will be covered under the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme.
Reiterating Prime Minister’s commitment towards “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas” and “Ease of Living” for people of India, Finance and Corporate Affairs Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech in Parliament today proposed 16 action points focusing on doubling Farmers income, Horticulture sector, Food storage, Animal Husbandry, and Blue economy.
Doubling Farmers Income
With the aim of doubling farmers' income by 2022, Smt. Sitharaman in her budget speech proposed to expand PM-KUSUM to 2 million farmers for setting up stand-alone solar pumps and help another 1.5 million farmers solarise their grid-connected pump sets. She further proposed to operationalize scheme to enable farmers to set up solar power generation capacity on their fallow/barren lands and to sell it to the grid.
Resource efficiency is the first step in doubling farmer’s income and keeping this in mind Mrs Sitharaman further stressed to encourage balanced use of all kinds of fertilizers and Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF). She further proposed the integration of negotiable warehousing receipts (e-NWR) and the National Agricultural Market (e-NAM).
“Integrated farming systems for rainfed areas shall be expanded. Multi-tier cropping, beekeeping, solar pumps, solar energy production in non-cropping season will be added. The portal on “Jaivik kheti” – online national organic products market will also be strengthened” Mrs Sitharaman said.
To address concerns related to water stress in various parts of the country, Finance Minister said “our government is proposing comprehensive measures for one hundred water-stressed districts”.
Storage and Logistics
To promote storage infrastructure and reduce wastage of food grains Smt. Sitharaman proposed the creation of warehouses through viability gap funding on a PPP mode at the block level. She also proposed warehouse building by Food Corporation of India (FCI) and Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) on their land too. As a backward linkage, Mrs Sitharaman proposed village storage scheme to be run by Self Help Groups (SHG). “Women, SHG’s shall regain their position as Dhaanya Lakshmi” said Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman.
To build a seamless national cold supply chain for perishables, inclusive of milk, meat, Mrs Sitharaman said, “Indian Railways will set up Kisan Rail-through PPP arrangements. There shall be refrigerated coaches in express and freight trains as well”. “To help improve value realization especially in North-East and tribal districts Krishi Udaan will be launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation” added the Finance Minister.
Recognizing the contribution of animal husbandry sector in farmer’s income, Mrs Sitharaman aimed to eliminate Foot and Mouth disease, brucellosis in cattles and peste des petits ruminants (PPR) in sheep and goat by 2025 and to increase coverage of artificial insemination from 30 percent to 70%. “we shall facilitate doubling of milk processing capacity from 53.5 million MT to 108 million MT by 2025,” the minister said.
On horticulture, she said “For better marketing and export, we propose supporting states which, adopting a cluster basis will focus on one product one district”
Image caption: Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman along with Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Anurag Thakurentering the parliament for presenting budget 2020-21