Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented her second budget on Saturday. Agriculture is one sector that always occupies a prominent space in the annual budget. And this year during Budget 2020 was no different. The government was expected to deliver on matters of enhancing agricultural exports and increasing the wages of farmers. Much of the provisions in the budget are directed towards the same.
Nirmala Sitharaman said during the budget that the government is committed to doubling the farmer’s wages by 2022. She proposed 16 action points for farmers.
The 16 points announced in Budget 2020 include:
-Encourage states to take up model agricultural laws
-Comprehensive measures for 100 water-stressed districts.
-PM Kusum scheme removes dependence on kerosene and encourages the use of solar power
-The government will encourage the balanced use of fertilizers. This is an important step because the current use of chemical fertilizers is incentivized.
-NABARD will take up an exercise of mapping and geotagging agricultural warehouses, cold storage and other inventory storages
-A village storage scheme is proposed to be managed by SHEs. This will help farmers store more and reduce logistics costs. Women in the village will be responsible for managing this seamless storage mechanism.
-Krishi UDAAN scheme will be launched by the Aviation Ministry.
-The horticulture sector with its current produce exceeds the production of food grains. We will now take it to, One Product One District.
-The financing of negotiable warehousing receipts will be integrating other e-services.
-Agricultural credit availability for 2021 has been set at 15 lakh crore.
-Our govt aims to eliminate the foot and mouth disease in sheep and goat by 2025
-Doubling of milk production of 53.5 million metric tonne of milk to 103 metric million tonnes by 2025.
-Our govt will involve youth in the fishery sector. We hope the rural youth will work as Sagar Mitras and also form Fish Farmer Organisation
-Under the Antodyaya scheme, SHEs will be further taken forward and made stronger.
-Rs 2.83 lakh crore to be allocated for agriculture.
-Rs 1.23 lakh crore to be allocated for rural development and panchayati raj
Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the government will help farmers with barren lands convert their land into solar farms which can be used to generate electricity. She also said that the government will help 15 lakh farmers solarize their farms. It will also encourage 20 lakh farmers to set up solar-powered pumps.
Last year, the announcement that Rs. 6000 will be paid to farmers with less than 2 hectares of land annually in three installments was one of the prominent declarations of the interim budget. The scheme came into effect on the 1st of December, 2019 and the annual expenses for the scheme was pegged at Rs. 75,000 crores per year.
Apart from that, a 2% interest subvention for farmers who practice animal husbandry and fisheries was announced. An additional 1% interest subvention was announced if loans were repaid on time. The setting up of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog was also declared to ensure the welfare of cows, including genetic improvement and sustainable development. Acting Finance Minister Piyush Goyal had said, “Yeh sarkar kabhi Gau mata ke samman mein peeche nahi hategi. (This government will never shy away from honouring our Mother Cow).”