Budget Takeaway

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Plenty on the plate for farmers

Budget 2017 has much to offer to the farm sector. Here are some of the fruitful takeaways:

A record ₹10 lakh crore has been set as the target for agricultural credit for farmers to ensure adequate flow of credit, particularly in the under-serviced areas. This is in addition to the 60-day interest waiver on the loans from cooperative credit structure announced earlier by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The crop coverage under the Fasal Bima Yojana, a scheme to provide security against natural calamities, will be increased from 30 per cent now to 40 per cent in 2017-18 and 50 per cent in 2018-19. A provision of ₹9,000 crore has been made for this coverage.

The Centre will set up new mini labs at Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) to test soil samples to guage nutrient levels. It will ensure 100 per cent coverage of all 648 KVKs in the country. To accomplish this faster, the Centre will rope in qualified local entrepreneurs to set up additional 1,000 mini labs, andprovide credit-linked subsidy to them.

A micro and long-term irrigation fund will be set up for Nabard, with corpuses of ₹5,000 crore and ₹40,000 crore, respectively.

To enhance the value addition of farmers’ produce, up to ₹75 lakh will be provided to every National Agricultural Market (e-NAM) for establishment of cleaning, grading and packaging facilities. The coverage of e-NAM will be further expanded to 585 Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) from the current 250.

To provide better price realisation and reduce post-harvest losses, the Centre has proposed to integrate farmers who grows fruit and vegetables with agro processing units.

A dairy processing and infrastructure development fund will be set up by Nabard with an initial fund of ₹2,000 crore.

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