BHUBANESWAR: Despite professing commitment to farmers’ empowerment and agriculture development in the State, the Agriculture budget outlay has been reduced by Rs 1,940 crore this year.Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari presented a budget of Rs 17,468 crore for 2021-22 against the previous year’s allocation of Rs 19,408 for the sector.
The Minister, however, laid emphasis on increasing irrigation facilities and announced several measures on the front. Announcing that the State government intends to create additional irrigation potential of 2.74 lakh hectare during 2021-22, Pujari announced that government has planned to complete all ongoing major, medium and minor irrigation projects in the next two to three years. He announced that two new irrigation projects, Sandul in Kalahandi district and Turi-Guntat in Nabarangpur district will be taken up this year.
He said Rs 2,258 crore has been proposed for the completion of AIBP projects implemented through Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY). Besides, Rs 454 crore has also been proposed under the State-funded Water Sector Infrastructure Development Programme (WSIDP) for these projects. He also announced Rs 710 crore for flood control and drainage work during the year.
Besides, convergence is also being made through Odisha Mineral Bearing Areas Development Corporation and District Mineral Fund (DMF) to create irrigation potential and livelihood improvement by taking up watershed development activities, water harvesting structures, mega lift irrigation projects for which Rs 447 crore has been allocated.
The Finance Minister was hopeful that the total investment for agriculture and allied sectors from budgetary and off-budget sources will be about Rs 20,000 crore for 2021-22. Around Rs 1,800 crore has been proposed for the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme.
He also announced Rs 819 crore for interest subsidy/subvention to the farmers during the year while proposing a subsidy of Rs 454 crore for establishment of commericial agri-enterprises and popularisation of agricultural implements. MGNREGA funds of Rs 1,966 crore will be accessed through convergence mode to enhance activities in agriculture sector.
Pujari stated that cooperative banks will provide crop loans about Rs 16,000 crore in 2021-22. For providing quick relief and adequate compensation to farmers during 2021-22, an allocation Rs 500 crore has been made. Around Rs 1,415 crore was allocated for fisheries and animal husbandry sector.