Finance minister Piyush Goyal mentions agriculture as the main driver of rural economy. Declining prices of agricultural commodities in the international market and fall in food inflation in India since 2017-18, relative to non-food sector, have however, reduced the returns from farming. Small and fragmented land holding on account of repeated divisions has also contributed in decline in the income of the farmer family.
“There is a need for providing structured income support to the poor land-holder farmer families in the country for procuring inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, equipment, labour etc. and to meet other needs. Such support will help them in avoiding indebtedness as well and falling into clutches of money lenders.” says Finance minister before listing out important takeaways of this election year’s highly anticipated budget.
Here are the key programmes and policy decisions listed out in Budget 2019.
#1. To provide an assured income support to the small and marginal farmers, our Government is launching a historic programme namely “Pradhan Mantri KIsan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)”. Under this programme, vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support at the rate of Rs 6,000 per year. This income support will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiary farmers, in three equal instalments of Rs 2,000 each. This programme will be funded by Government of India. Around 12 crore small and marginal farmer families are expected to benefit from this. The programme would be made effective from 1st December 2018 and the first instalment for the period upto 31st March 2019 would be paid during this year itself. This programme will entail an annual expenditure of Rs. 75,000 crore.
“PM-KISAN would not only provide assured supplemental income to the most vulnerable farmer families, but would also meet their emergent needs especially before the harvest season. PM-KISAN would pave the way for the farmers to earn and live a respectable living.” said FM while bringing the scheme to notice in house.
#2. During the last five years, for providing affordable loans to farmers, the amount of interest subvention has been doubled. The crop loan to farmers increased to Rs 11.68 lakh crore in year 2018-19.
#3. Animal Husbandry and Fisheries sector also needs considerable support. The allocation for Rashtriya Gokul Mission increased to Rs 750 crore in the current year itself. He also announced setting up of “Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog” to upscale sustainable genetic up-gradation of cow resources and to enhance production and productivity of cows. The Aayog will also look after effective implementation of laws and welfare schemes for cows.
#4. India is the second largest fish producing nation in the world accounting for 6.3% of global production, registering an average annual growth of more than 7% in recent years. The sector provides livelihood to about 1.45 crore people at the primary level. To provide sustained and focused attention towards development of this sector, Government has decided to create a separate Department of Fisheries.
#5. In the last Budget, Government announced the facility of extension of Kisan Credit Card scheme (KCC) to Animal Husbandry and Fisheries farmers. Now, It is proposed to provide the benefit of 2% interest subvention to the farmers pursuing the activities of animal husbandry and fisheries, who avail loan through Kisan Credit Card (KCC). Further, in case of timely repayment of loan, they will also get an additional 3% interest subvention.
#6. To ensure provision of easy and concessional credit and to bring all farmers under KCC fold, Government has also decided to initiate a comprehensive drive with a simplified application form.
#7. When natural calamities strike, farmers are generally unable to repay their crop loans. Presently, the crop loans are rescheduled for such affected farmers and they get benefit of interest subvention of 2% only for the first year of the rescheduled loan. Government has now decided that all farmers affected by severe natural calamities, where assistance is provided from National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF), will be provided the benefit of interest subvention of 2% and prompt repayment incentive of 3% for the entire period of reschedulement of their loans.
Read critical analysis of PM-KISAN scheme here http://imotforum.com/2019/02/pm-kisan-analysis/
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