Amidst the ongoing farmers’ protests against the already passed farm sector reforms, the Narendra Modi-led central government rolled out a slew of agricultural measures in Union Budget 2021-22.
Addressing the fears over abolishing the MSP regime, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “Our government is committed to the welfare of farmers. The MSP regime has undergone a sea change to assure price that is at least 1.5 times the cost of production across all commodities.”
She announced that the procurement has continued to increase at a steady pace and this has resulted in a substantial increase in the payment of farmers. Sitharaman launched a scathing attack on the previous UPA government by comparing numbers of wheat procurement under the current administration with that of 2013/14.
“In case of wheat, the total amount paid to farmers in FY 2013-14 was Rs 33874 crores. In 2019-20, it was Rs 62,802 crores. And even better, Honourable Speaker, in 2020-21, this amount paid to farmers was Rs 75,060 crores,” she said amidst applause from the ruling party MPs.
Similarly, she laid out the facts regarding increase in paddy procurement under Modi’s regime.
In 2013-14, the central government under former PM Dr Manmohan Singh paid Rs 63,298 crore for paddy. This amount shot up significantly to Rs 1,41,930 crores in 2019-20 and is estimated to reach Rs 1,72,750 crores in 2020-21, she said.
As of now, 1.68 crore farmers are registered under the e-NAM (electronic-National Agricultural Market) and Rs 1.14 lakh crore trade value has been carried out under the national online trading platform, she added.
The finance minister announced that 1,000 APMC mandis will be further integrated with e-NAM.
“The agriculture infrastructure fund will be made available for the APMCs for augmenting their infrastructure facilities,” Sitharaman declared.
Meanwhile, the agricultural credit target has been increased to Rs 16.5 lakh crores this year. The allotment to rural development infrastructure fund has been increased from Rs 30,000 crore to Rs 40,000 crore for animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries.
The Rs 5,000 crore worth micro irrigation fund created under NABARD has been doubled by an addition of Rs 5,000 crore.
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