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(The Gist of Kurukshetra) Agriculture Priority in Various Budgets [MARCH-2018]


(The Gist of Kurukshetra) Agriculture Priority in Various Budgets

[MARCH-2018]


Agriculture Priority in Various Budgets:

In 2014-15,majorthrustforagriculturesectorhad been in terms of facilitating Agri-tech Infrastructure, setting up of open Agriculture Universities in Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan and Horticulture Universities in Telangana and Haryana. Also, the setting up of mobile soil testing laboratories along with soil health card to every farmer had remained the key focus. In year 2015-16, major focus has remained to support micro-irrigation and watershed development facilities. Alongside, NABARD had been considered the nodal agency to facilitate the rural infrastructure development with a budget of Rs 25,000 crore.

The agriculture sector has been given an increase of 12.8 per cent in expenditure, the same as the last time. However, the rural sector allocation has seen a growth of 1.8 per cent, comparatively much less than the 19 per cent hike in the previous budget.2 in agriculture sector, priority areas are to provide remunerative price for agricultural produce, developing and upgrading agricultural marketing infrastructure through setting up of 22,000 rural haats and upgraded into Gramin Agricultural Markets GrAMs), 585 APMCs, food processing parks, etc. Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all unannounced kharif crops has been kept at least one and half times of their production cost. The rural haats initiative mainly aims to protect the interests of 86 per cent small and marginal farmers as it is very hard for small farmers to produce the scale output and make it access to the super markets. Other initiatives include strengthening of lab testing facilities through all the forty two Mega Food Parks, boost to organized cultivation of highly specially medicinal and aromatic plants and associated industry and launch of “Operation Greens” with outlay of Rs 500 Crore to address the challenge of price volatility of perishable
commodities like tomato, onion and potato, and to promote Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs). in order to give a momentum for direct selling by farmers to final consumers, GrAMs, are electronically linked to e-NAM and exempted from regulations of APMCs. So far, 470 APMCs have been connected to e-NAM network and rest will be connected by March, 2018. An allocation of Rs 200 crore has been made for organized cultivation of highly specialized medicinal and aromatic plants. Also, it is announced in the budget that the organic farming by Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and Village Producers Organizations (VPOs) in large clusters, preferably of 1000 hectares each will be encouraged.

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Courtesy: Kurukshetra