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Union Budget 2020: Kisan Rail, Udan part of 16-point plan to boost agri, allied sectors

Keeping in mind the BJP government’s promise of doubling farmers’ income by 2022, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday spelled out a 16-point action plan to revive the agriculture and allie

Published: 02nd February 2020 02:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd February 2020 02:28 AM   |  A+A-

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during the post-budget press conference in New Delhi

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during the post-budget press conference in New Delhi. (Photo| Parveen Negi, EPS)

NEW DELHI: AGRICULTURE:

Keeping in mind the BJP government’s promise of doubling farmers’ income by 2022, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday spelled out a 16-point action plan to revive the agriculture and allied sectors. The finance minister said that the Kisan Rail and Krishi Udan schemes would be introduced to help farmers transport perishable goods fast. While the Kisan Rail project will be taken up with the Indian Railways, the Ministry of Civil Aviation would be roped in for the Krishi Udan project to transport perishable goods domestically and on international routes.

The budget, Sitharaman said, has focused on addressing farmers challenges. “The government will help 20 lakh farmers for setting up standalone solar pumps and 15 lakh farmers to set up solar irrigation facilities. Farmers with silos and barren land will be helped to set up solar power units which can be sold through the grid,” the minister said. Sitharaman said that the central government will urge states to encourage modern agriculture techniques and said farm markets need to be liberalised.

A slew of measures were also proposed by the finance minister for 100 waterstressed districts. To address difficulties faced by farmers, Sitharaman said that the PM KUSUM scheme would be extended to around 20 lakh farmers and all farmers enrolled under the scheme would be automatically eligible for the Kisan Credit Card scheme. The minister said that the government would continue to support the idea of zero-budget farming as proposed in the previous budget.

“I was looking at seeing more details on how the income of the farmers would be doubled, if the government was going to double the 6,000 or is going to adopt some other measures,” Ashwajit Singh, Managing Director IPE Global said. For the allied sectors like animal husbandry, the budget aimed to eliminate diseases like the foot and mouth disease and brucellosis while increasing artificial insemination from 30 per cent to 70 per cent.

The budget also proposes to increase the milk processing capacity from 53.5 million metric tonnes to 108 million metric tonnes by 2025. Fisheries also found a lot of importance in the budget with the minister proposing to raise the fish production to 200 lakh tones by 2022-2023. The youth, minister said, will be involved in the fishery extension through 3,477 Sagar Mitras and 500 fish farmer organizations. “We expect to raise the fishery export to Rs 1 lakh crore by 2024-2025,” she said. “For better marketing and export, we propose supporting states which, adopting a cluster basis will focus on one product one district,” Sitharaman said.

MGNREGA funds slashed The funds for the MGNREGA were cut by 13 per cent in the budget. While the scheme was allocated Rs 71,000 crore in last year’s budget, it got only Rs 61,500 crore this year.



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