Finance Minister promises more credit for agriculture during the next fiscal in her Union Budget 2020 speech

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Finance Minister Ms Nirmala Sithraman announced an agricultural credit target set to Rs 15 trillion for next fiscal in her budget speech. Rural development and Panchanyati Raj were allocated Rs 1.6 trillion by the minister.

She listed 16 action points for ‘aspirational India’ in her speech. The state governments who are already implementing three model laws adopted by Centre will be encouraged.

She promised fish production in India to be raised to 20 milion tonnes. “A total of 377 sagar mitras and 500 fish farmer organisations will help youth find work in fish farming sector,” she said in the Budget speech

The finance minister further said the government will encourage balanced use of all fertilizers. “We will encourage balanced use of all fertilizers, a necessary step to change the incentive regime which encourages excessive use of chemical fertilizers, she said.

The government has taken comprehensive measures for 100 water stressed districts, she said, promising standalone solar pumps to 20 lakh farmers.  To encourage balanced use of all kinds of fertilisers, including organic fertilisers, the government will seek to change incentive scheme skewed towards chemical fertilisers.

To help the farmers produce reach the marketplace more efficiently, the government will provide viability gap funding for setting up advanced warehousing.  To ease the logistics problems faced by farmers, the finance minister said that the village story scheme will be run by Women Self Help Groups (SHGs). Plans to set up Kisan rail on PPP (private-public participation) basis for perishable goods are on the cards, the FM said.

The FM said that Krishi Udaan will be launched by civil aviation ministry for farmers in remote and north-east areas.

The milk output in India will be raised from 53.5 million tonnes to 108 million metric tonnes by 2025, the finance minister promised in her budget speech.

A total of 61.1 million farmers insured under Fasal Bima, said Sitharaman. She further said hand-holding of farm-based activities needs to be done in cooperation with states.

The Prime Minister Kusum Scheme (PMKS) launched earlier has reduced dependence on diesel and kerosene replacing it with solar energy. The FM said a total of 2 million farmers can set up standalone solar pumps. Further, she said that government can help 1.5 million farmers solarise grid-connected pump sets. Farmers can also use barren land for solar energy and have a livelihood out of it, she promised.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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