Budget 2014: Agriculture tops the chart in Centre's populist projects

Arun Jaitley
New Delhi, July 10: Expressing concern over the dip in investment needed for financial agriculture development and the farming sector in the country, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley proposed sops and funds for the sector to give it a boost.

An Agriculture Infrastructure Fund of Rs. 100 crores was proposed to be set to encourage research and development in the critical area. The FinMinfurther emphasized that this was necessary to make farming competitive, and give an impetus to investment, both private and public. Some of the other pet projects of the government included establishing centres of excellence in agriculture in Assam and Jharkhand, agriculture universities in Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan, and horticulture universities in Telangana and Haryana.

Keeping in mind the basic necessities required for a prosperous agricultural sector, the minister also announced Rs. 8 lakh crores for agriculture credit. An amount of Rs. 5,000 crores was kept aside to address the need to scientific warehousing, so that the farmers could store their products for long periods.

Long-term rural credit fund have been necessitated in National Bank for Agriculture and Rural development (NABARD) with an initial investment of Rs. 5,000 crores to provide long-term support for the farmers. This was primarily done to benefit 5 lakh landless farmers.

Rs. 50 crores was assigned to indigenous cattle breeding and the farmers could get any information from a channel Kisan TV that is to be launched soon this year. This channel would also address issues related to agriculture. (Finance Minister's 'Rs. 100-crore' Schemes Spark Buzz)

"The channel will provide real time information on farming techniques, water conservation, new technologies and organic training," he said while presenting the budget for 2014-15.

"I propose to allocate a sum of Rs.100 crore for this purpose," he added.

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