NEW DELHI: The NDA government is now back to basics to find a solution to farmers’ woes, with an eye on Green and White revolution and has decided to address several critical issues in Budget-2016 that is expected to lay special emphasis on agriculture and allied sectors.
It is learnt that Shaktikanta Das, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, has asked the departments concerned to look into the recommendations of a group of secretaries, which could be incorporated in this year’s budget. A group of secretaries had given a presentation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month outlining problems in the agriculture sector and possible solutions. Express has accessed Das’ letter and presentation to the PM titled, “Farmer Centric Issues in Agriculture and Allied Sectors” with irrigation and milk productivity as the main focus.
One of the suggestions is to increase budgetary allocation for irrigation. As only 46 per cent of the total land is currently covered under irrigation, the government is looking to dig at least 5 lakh wells every year to enhance agriculture area under irrigation. Citing miniscule budget, the group of secretaries’ presentation underlined the need for massive increase of over Rs 25,000 crore to meet the target. Special focus on agriculture sector in the North East has also been suggested. Besides, electricity supply, setting up of solar power plants, crop insurance, improving dry land farming and warehousing facility in rural areas will be the main focus of the government.
As far as white revolution is concerned, the PM was told that out of 300 million bovines, only 85 million are in milk production. There is also a worry in terms of productivity as the secretaries told the PM that current productivity is 1647 kg per annum against the global average of 2189 kg per annum. “Disease and large unproductive population are major concerns,” the secretaries said in their presentation.
Among the important suggestions that are likely to reflect in this year’s budget, the secretaries suggested the launch of an ‘Animal Wellness Scheme — Sanjeevani’ under which the government could provide animal health cards, tagging and health services at one’s door-step.
According to sources privy to the latest developments, the government may decide for additional budgetary allocation for Bovines, considering the suggestions of the group of secretaries. There is also a recommendation for “sex semen sorting techniques” to increase female population.
“There could another mega launch of an electronic platform — ‘E-Pashudhan’ — as suggested by the secretaries to revive agriculture and allied sectors, sources further added.
Secretaries’ Inputs for Budget
Hike budgetary allocation for irrigation
Government looking to dig at least 5 lakh wells every year
Recommended hike in expenditure for the same: Rs 25,000 crore
Special focus on agriculture sector in North East
Launch an animal wellness scheme, Sanjeevani, under which animal health cards, tagging and health services could be made available at one’s door-step
Launch electronic platform, ‘E-Pashudhan’ to revive agriculture and allied sectors