The Gist of Kurukshetra: June 2016
Budget 2016-17 : Empowering Bharat
Inclusive growth is multifaceted and can be addressed as
growth with justice. Here justice signifies economic, social and political
equality among all the people of a country. Inclusive growth in itself does not
have any automatic mechanism to reach the deprived and excluded section of
society; rather it is the outcome of planned and thoughtful course of actions of
the government. Democracy will lose its shine if the deprived masses will not
country. Inclusive growth planes for what has remained unplanned and reaches the
unreachable. It requires implementing plans and programmes that uplifts the
social and economic status of the deprived sections of society
Agricultural Development in Budget
Economics of wellbeing, in rural India, rests on economics of
agricultural. Empirical evidences show that improvement in the life of poor; is
directly connected to the agricultural development. Considering the above fact,
our Finance Minister has taken well thought steps in allocation more funds to
the agricultural sector. Rural India is synonymous with agriculture and
development of both is intertwined. Contribution of agricultural sector to GDP
is only 13.9 per cent, but it accommodates nearly half of out workforce. This
contribution of agricultural sector to rural employment and rural livelihood
itself signifies its national importance.
Budget has nine pillars for transformation of India, where the first two are
‘Agriculture’ and ‘Rural Development’. These two sectors would certainly be
monumental in making development inclusive.
Agricultural Credit Support for Inclusiveness
Agricultural growth depends upon various factors and among
them; credit is one of the most important. Availability and access to easy
credit is indispensable to enhance agricultural production to meet the rising
food demand for our growing population, and raw materials for the industry.
Hence, the provision of agricultural credit in the union
budget, is on a continuous rise over the years. It has increased from Rs.
3,75,000 crores (2010-11) to Rs. 9,00,000 crores (2016-17), means more than two
times over the period of six years.
Government intends to infuse soft cash to the stressed
farmers. Not only the flow of farm credit has increased considerably but also
target interest rate has been reduced from time to time. Also, to encourage
those who are making timely payments, government has made provision of Rs.
15,000 crores as interest subvention.
Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana: Fostering Irrigation
Farming is still, significantly dependent on monsoon in
India. Out of net total arable lands, only 46 per cent are irrigated and even
the distribution of irrigation facilities across state is highly skewed.
Improved irrigated facilities and efficient water usage are crucial to enhance
farm productivity. The gap between gross cropped area and gross irrigated area
need to be further reduced.
The government started the ‘Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai
Yojana’, aimed at provision of water to every framer covering around 28.50 lakh
hectares of land and improve the use of water efficiently to get ‘Per Drop More
Crop’. Government has proposed to spend Rs. 17,000 crores to achieve the above
said targets. Besides, 89 irrigarion projects under AIBP will be scrutinized by
setting specific time frame. This will help to irrigate around 80.6 lakh
hectares of land and requires Rs. 86, 500 crores to meet the expenses in the
next five years. Focus on irrigation will surely enhance out agriculture
productivity and that would help in containing current account deficit through
higher agricultural exports.
Unified National Agricultural Market
As a welfare initiative, government intends to increase the
income of farmers by creating a unified national agricultural market. At
present, farm producers, due to lack of knowledge and information asymmetry,
sell their produce in the market even below the price that can cover their input
costs. Thus, farmers often feel distressed and discouraged to continue in
farming. To overcome such problems, the current budget has planned to create a
unified national agriculture market for farming where farmers can discover the
price and would be able to sell their produce at a higher price and at anytime
and anywhere. Once the unified national agricultural market gets established,
farmers would not have to depend upon the local produce marketing committees and
will not get exploited.
Rural Development in Budget
In India, 69 percent of the total population lives in
villages and therefore rural development itself signifies its importance. Our
economic growth and social development largely depends upon the success of a
range of schemes for rural development. However, these initiatives and schemes
of rural development should be redefined in order to customize them to the
current needs of the people. Current budget does focus on this.
Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana
Special emphasis is laid on rural road connectivity under the
‘Pradhan Manti Gram Sadak Yojana’ for which Rs. 19, 000 crores are allocated.
This is highest of all the times and quite huge in comparison to 2012-13
allocation of Rs. 8, 885 crores and Rs. 9,805 crores in 2013-14. In addition,
the total fund all allocated to the roads including the states’ share is Rs. 27,
000 crores. To take it further, government targets to complete 2.23 lakh
kilometer of road by 2021 to connect 65,000 eligible habitations. This is a
welcome step which will facilitate interconnectivity among villages as well as
with urban counterparts. This would foster business and trade among villages and
cities and thereby enhancing the standards of living of the people.
Under MGNRRGS, government has proposed to take up 5 lakh farm
ponds and dug wells in the rain-fed areas and 10,00,000 composite pits for
production of organic manure. In total, government has to set aside an amount of
Rs. 38,500 crores for programs of rural development under MGNREGS. To ensure
water conservation and natural resources management, Ciuster Facilitation Teams
will be started under the MANREG which would works but also generate income
through various works but also help in creating community assets.
Sanitation and Electricity Connectivity
To improve sanitation and cleanliness especially in rural India, government
has made provision of Rs. 9, 000 crores of ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, as a part of
social infrastructure development.
Electricity connectivity in the villages is essential for the
improvement in quality of life. So to achieve the same, the government planned
to spend Rs. 8,500 cores under ‘Deen Dayal Upadhaya Gram Jyoti Yojana’ to
provide 100% electricity connections to the rural households in the next three
To spread digital literacy among the rural masses, government
has already approved two programs namely; ‘National Digital Literacy Mission’
and ‘Digital Saksharta’ and targets to cover six crore households to make them
digitally literate in the rural India in the next three years.
Other Initiatives for Inclusiveness
Government has declared in this budget to provide ‘LPG
connection to BPL Households’ only in the name of the women households of these
poor families. This will not only economically support these people but also
reduce the environmental pollution to its minimum. So, to achieve the same, Rs.
2, 000 crores is allocated for the initial cost of providing LPG connection this
fiscal year. This will benefit more than one crore and fifty lakhs households
those are below poverty line.
Government has started a ‘Stand up India Scheme’ to promote
entrepreneurship among SC/ST and women. Rs. 5, 000 crores has been provided for
this scheme which will benefit 2.5 lakh entrepreneurs, mostly from rural areas.
The announcements of an increase in expenditure on
agricultural and rural development in the budget signifies their sectoral
importance in our economy. But agriculture sector is facing formidable
challenges over year and a large number of farmers want to quit agriculture as
their main occupation. Most of them do not have easy access to institutional
finance/ credit and a large proportion is still dependent upon informal sector
for finance. Besides, failure of crops either due to heavy rain or due to
draught also adds to their misery. Hence, the government’s approach to support
agricultural sector is just and necessary which is visible in the current
budget. Further, targeting rural development in itself opens the road for
inclusive development. Planning is not enough unless it is properly implemented
within the given time and resource constraints. However, we are looking forward
to positive outcome of the budget; through good governance, prudent expenditure
management, close monitoring, clear cut accountability and timely execution with
apt follow up of the various schems meant for agricultural and rural development