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Interet cut rate, more fund for agri-research likely in Budget

By Staff
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New Delhi, Feb 26 (UNI) Major steps such as cut in interest rate on farm credit, revamping and extending rural insurance scheme, pumping huge funds in agri-research are likely to be announced in the Budget ushering in the second Green Revolution to boost agricultural investment and production.

All these measures are the recommendations of the M S Swaminathan-led National Commission on Farmers which recently submitted its report to the government.

With a view to giving a boost to agricultural research, Finance Minister P Chidambaram is likely to announce a Rs 1000 crore one-time grant to the fund-starved National Agricultural Reaseach System (NAS). This would be the most critical launching pad for the second Green Revolution. The commission had underlined the need to fill the critical gap in scientific infrastructure in the frontier areas of the technology so as to enable India to enhance agricultural competitiveness.

Another initiative on the card is the setting up a National Board for Strategic Research in agriculture which will coordinate and harness advances in basic science for agricultural progress.

An announcement on establishing Indian Trade Orgnaisation (IPO) on the model of World Trade Organisation (WTO) is also expected. The IPO could have its own boxes for domestic agricultural suport on the line of WTO's Blue, Green and Amber Boxes.

The objective is to segregate the very modest support at the government extends to farmers into two groups- those which are of the nature of life and livelihood support and those which could be considered as trade distorting in the global market.

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