The Union Interim Finance Minister of India, Mr. Piyush Goyal, announced the annual union budget for the year 2019-20 on February 1, 2019. This was the 89th budget announcement made in independent India and can be largely called the ‘Vote on Account’ budget. Considering the aggrieved condition of the farmers and their protests as one of the main reasons behind the defeat of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government in major states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the government paid greater heed on alleviating the conditions of farmers and announced many reforms for the same. This year’s union budget has kept the farmers’ condition at the forefront and has allocated around INR 75,000 crores to improve the condition of the farmers who have been adversely affected in the past two-three years
PM-KISAN, a farm income support scheme, was announced by the Union Interim Finance Minister in this year’s annual budget. As per this scheme, the government has allotted a sum of 75,000 crores to alleviate the condition of around 120 million Indian farmers. According to the scheme, the government will transfer a sum of INR 6,000 into the bank accounts of farmers who have cultivable land up to 2 hectares. This sum would be transferred to the accounts in three equal installments INR 2,000 in every four months. This sum would be around 16% of the average annual income of the farmers (INR 3,140 as per National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development aka Nabard).
Minimum Support Price or MSP is a price fixed by the government for certain crops to ensure the farmers are not hit by any fall in the prices during production years. This is the minimum price that the government would have to pay the farmers even though the market is facing a bumper fall. This year’s Union budget brought a sigh of relief for all the farmers as the government increased the MSP limit on all 22 crops like wheat, rice, pulses, etc. This step aims at doubling the farmer income by strengthening their income structure. In fact, the grains, fruits and vegetable suppliers and exporters would also have to keep this minimum support price in mind while procuring these agro products from the farmers.
( Also Read: Know the Economy and Importance of Agriculture in India )
Another good news for the farmers who have taken a loan from their Kisan credit card is that they would get a 2% interest subvention on their loans. The government skipped on rescheduling crop loans this year and announced a 2% interest subvention. That’s not all, the farmers who are making regular repayment of the loan can also benefit by getting 3% interest subvention. In addition to that, all farmers, engaged in fisheries and animal husbandry, will also get a 2% interest subvention on their loan. These interest subventions are applicable to all the farmers who have been adversely affected by any type of natural calamities.
Rashtriya Gokul Mission for the development, growth, and conservation of indigenous cattle breeds is also allocated a higher sum in this year’s union budget. Mr. Piyush Goyal announced that the allocation for this scheme would now be INR 750 crores. This step aims at boosting the production and productivity of cattle like cows in India.
A new scheme, namely Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog, was also announced by the Union Interim Finance Minister to ensure an increase and boost in the genetic up-gradation of cows as resources in India. By setting up this scheme, the government aims to again increase and improve the productivity & production of cows. In addition to that, this scheme would also ensure the implementation of new policies for the welfare of cows in the country.
In the past five years, the budget for the agriculture industry has almost doubled. While last year the budget for this sector was set at INR 56,000 crores, the government decided to up their monetary funds for the improvement of the agriculture sector by making it 75,000 crores. This sure is a positive step in boosting this sector and offering relief to the distressed farmers in different states of India.