Budget 2016-17 rains bonanza for rural India

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As experts continue to analyse the Budget 2016-17, one thing that stands out is that it is budget that will give huge boost to agriculture and benefit rural India develop really fast.

When over 58% rural households depend on agriculture as their main means of livelihood it is pertinent that budget tries to focus on that sector, especially when during the first quarter of financial year 2016-17 agriculture and allied sectors grew at 1.9% year-on-year and contributed 14.2% of Gross Value Added (GVA).

budget 2016-17

For rural development as a whole, Rs. 87,765 crore have been allocated in the Budget 2016-17.

Some wonderful initiatives that Budget 2016-17 have for rural India and farmers are:

  • Government will reorient its interventions in the farm and non-farm sectors to double the income of the farmers by 2022.
  • Total allocation for Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare is Rs. 35,984 crore.
  • 28.5 lakh hectares will be brought under irrigation under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana. Also 89 irrigation projects under AIBP which have been languishing will be fast tracked.
  • A dedicated Long Term Irrigation Fund in NABARD with an initial corpus of about Rs. 20,000 crore.
  • A major programme for sustainable management of ground water resources has been prepared with an estimated cost of Rs. 6,000 crore and proposed for multilateral funding.
  • Soil Health Card Scheme will cover all 14 crore farm holdings by March 2017. 2,000 model retail outlets of fertilizer companies will be provided with soil and seed testing facilities during the next three years.
  • The allocation under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana has been increased to Rs. 19,000 crore and it will connect remaining 65,000 eligible habitations by 2019.
  • Against the target of Rs. 8.5 lakh crore in 2015-16, the target for agricultural credit in 2016-17 will be an all-time high of Rs. 9 lakh crore. To reduce the burden of loan repayment on farmers, a provision of Rs. 15,000 crore has been made in the BE 2016-17 towards interest subvention.
  • For effective implementation of Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana, Rs. 5,500 crore have been provided in the Budget 2016-17.
  • A sum of Rs. 2.87 lakh crore will be given as Grant in Aid to Gram Panchayats and Municipalities. It will translate to an average assistance of over Rs. 80 lakh per Gram Panchayat and over Rs. 21 crore per Urban Local Body.
  • Every block under drought and rural distress will be taken up as an intensive Block under the Deen Dayal Antyodaya Mission.
  • Allocation of Rs. 38,500 crore for MGNREGS.
  • 300 Rurban Clusters will be developed under the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban Mission.
  • Government is committed to 100% village electrification by 1st May, 2018.
  • A new Digital Literacy Mission Scheme for rural India will cover around 6 crore additional households within the next 3 years.
  • In order to develop governance capabilities of Panchayati Raj Institutions on the Sustainable Development Goals, a new scheme namely 'Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan" was announced for which Rs. 655 crore is being set apart.
  • A massive mission to provide LPG connection in the name of women members of poor households for which Rs. 2000 crore have been earmarked. This will benefit about 1 crore 50 lakh households below the poverty line in 2016-17. The Scheme will be continued for at least two more years to cover a total of 5 crore BPL households.
  • To make dairying more remunerative to the farmers, four new projects will be taken up which will be implemented at a cost of Rs. 650 crores over the next few years.
    • First the 'Pashudhan Sanjivani', an animal wellness programme and provision of Animal Health Cards ('Nakul Swasthya Patra');
    • Second, an Advanced breeding technology;
    • Third, Creation of 'E-Pashudhan Haat', an e market portal for connecting breeders and farmers; and
    • Fourth, a National Genomic Centre for indigenous breeds.
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