A budget for ‘Sabka Saath – Sabka Vikas’

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The budget presented by the Finance Minister was clearly on the lines of ‘Sabka Saath – Sabka Vikas’. The Central government with this has reaffirmed its commitment. Agriculture sector has got the prime place as the middle class. It was the first time that allocation towards agriculture got such boost. The budgetary allocation of the Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Ministry has been raised by almost 2.5 times from Rs58,080 crore in 2018-19 to Rs1,41,174.37 crore in 2019-20. Hopefully, provision of income support and other schemes with a focus on rural India will go a long way to solve farmer’s problems. Launching of ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)’ to provide an assured income support to the small and marginal farmers with an annual expenditure of Rs75,000 crore is a welcome step. Gradually the amount could be raised to give it a shape of Farmer’s Security Scheme since this will be fully funded by the Government of India. Under this programme, vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support at the rate of Rs6,000 per year to ensure their investment and other needs. It will also protect farmers from the clutches of moneylenders. But the worrying factor is that the package declared takes care of only the land-owning farmers whereas a big number of tenant farmers are active in Hindi heartland. It grossly ignores tenant farmers as well as land less cultivators and labourers who are much more vulnerable. However, the most important factor is that farmers need better price for their products. To overcome this major restructuring is required otherwise these sops will be useless.

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