The 2018 budget, 15 months before the 2019 General Election, brings the focus on agriculture and rural economy. Wooing farmers, a slew of incentives and benefits were announced in the agriculture sector. Along with announcing higher MSP (minimum selling price) for farmers and launch of operation green to boost the produce government has placed higher emphasis on increasing income of the farmers. Government is trying to get 50% more price than the production cost. This could double the farmers’ income by 2022. The government is planning to set up a structure in consultation with NITI Aayog and the state governments are to ensure the farmers get complete MSP even if the market price is lower.
Along with that a corpus of Rs. 2,000 crore will be set up. 470 APMCs (agricultural produce market committee) have already been connected to eNAM (national agriculture market) network and the remaining are expected to be connected by March, 2018. NAM is a pan-India electronic trading portal which networks the existing APMC mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities, thereby providing a single window service for all APMC related information and services.
With a view to boost the food processing sector, the allocation has gone up from Rs. 700 crore to Rs. 1,400 crore whereas the government aims to promote specialized agro-processing and financial institutions.
In 1970, Operation Flood was launched by India’s National Dairy Development Board which transformed India from a milk-deficient nation to world’s largest milk producer. Jaitley announced Operation Green in his Budget speech today which will help farmers generate produce. Rs. 500 crore are allocated for the same. Corpus of Rs. 10,000 was also announced to set up a fund for fishery, aquaculture development and animal husbandry.