NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the government has undertaken the ambitious task of doubling farmers' income by 2022 so that farming becomes sustainable.
Observing that India has a huge population dependent on agriculture for livelihood, he said, "therefore, increase in the purchasing power of this group is extremely important for us because growth of larger economy depends on economic potential and power of this group itself." Pointing out that the agriculture community world over is vulnerable, Jaitley said countries try various methodologies for supporting the sector.
"Some highly developed countries directly, by different forms of subsidies, ensure money goes into the pockets of their farmers and the countries that don't have that level of affordability still have to struggle with the challenge that sustenance level is maintained (for farmers)," he said at an event organised by Nabard here.
Referring to the government's initiative in this direction, the finance minister said India is trying to double farmers' income by 2022.
"We have fairly ambitious plans in India and within our limits of our affordability, we have taken up the challenge of in the first instance trying to improve upon rural infrastructure and at the same time making sure that how do we ensure that their income is enhanced," he said.
He said the government has taken various measures to improve rural infrastructure by building roads, electrifying all villages, developing irrigation and providing regular dwellings.
Credit availability, interest subvention and crop insurance are other steps in that direction, Jaitley added.
Noting that farmers face the challenge of ever-increasing cost of inputs, he said it is extremely important for every society to ensure that food is made available at an affordable cost, and at the same time the farmers get their due.
Speaking on the occasion, Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar said banks have taken various steps to increase access to credit for the farming community.
National Bank For Agriculture And Rural Development (Nabard) Chairman H K Bhanwala said the mission of doubling farm income by 2022 will protect farmers from vagaries.