It said it will provide cheaper foodgrains through ration shops even if there is marginal decline in farm production due to inadequate rainfall this year, and also restructure Food Corporation of India (FCI) to improve efficiency of PDS. (Agencies)
While committing to achieve 4 percent farm growth, the new government advocated use of new farm technologies to boost crop yields to achieve the 'second Green Revolution' and 'Protein Revolution' amid challenges of climate change.
On farm credit front, the government, however, continued interest subvention of 3 percent for those making timely repayment, and total credit disbursement target of Rs 8,00,000 crore for this fiscal. It also proposed a long-term rural credit fund with an initial corpus of Rs 5,000 crore.
Presenting the Budget for 2014-15, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, "To make farming competitive and profitable, there is an urgent need to step up investment, both public and private, in agro-technology development and creation and modernization of existing agri-business infrastructure."
Of Rs 7,500 crore funds announced for the farm sector, Rs 1,000 crore has been set aside to improve access to irrigation under a scheme 'Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana' because 60 percent of the cultivable land is still rainfed.
To promote balanced use of fertilisers, Rs 100 crore has been earmarked for a scheme to provide every farmer a soil health card, while Rs 56 crore to set up 100 mobile soil testing labs. The government also promised formation of new urea policy to address imbalanced use of fertilizers.
Lauding the measures for the sector, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said, "Till now, agriculture used to be on the sidelines in union budgets but this is the first time that agriculture has been given pride of place in the budget."
Taking a dig at Budget, Former Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said, "A slew of announcements have been made. But there is no fuel in the engine to achieve the desired development goals. I am disappointed. I am not satisfied."
Noting that climate change is a reality and Indian agriculture is most prone to it, Jaitley proposed an initial allocation of Rs 100 crore to establish 'National Adaptation Fund' for climate change.
It said it will provide cheaper foodgrains through ration shops even if there is marginal decline in farm production due to inadequate rainfall this year, and also restructure Food Corporation of India (FCI) to improve efficiency of PDS.