Budget 2018: Major announcements on Agriculture
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented Budget on Thursday. This is Arun Jaitley's 5th Budget being presented in the middle of a busy election year as eight states go to polls. This is just a year ahead of the 17th general election. At the outset of Budget speech Jaitley announced new plans for the agriculture sector.
- The Minimum Support Price of all crops shall be increased to at least 1.5 times that of the production cost
- 470 APMCs have been connected to eNAM network, the rest to be connected by March 2018
- Agri-Market Development Fund with a corpus of Rs 2000 crore to be set up for developing agricultural markets
- Cluster-model approach to be adopted for agricultural production
- Allocation in Ministry of Food Processing is being doubled to boost Food Processing; specialized agro-processing and financial institutions to be promoted by Government
- Rs 500 crore for Operation Green
- Restructured National Bamboo Mission to be launched with an allocation of Rs 1290 crore rupees to promote bamboo sector in a holistic manner
- Fishery and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund and Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Fund to be set up - total corpus Rs 10,000 crore rupees
- Credit for agricultural activities rose from Rs 10 lakh crore to Rs 11 lakh crore
- Removal of crop residue to be subsidized in order to tackle the problem of pollution due to burning of crop residue
The agricultural credit target was fixed Rs. 10 Lakh Crore for 2017-18, which is highest ever so far for a particular year. This year the credit rose from Rs 10 lakh crore to Rs 11 lakh crore.
e-NAM (National Agriculture Market), a single-window online service integrating mandis (agriculture markets), was launched in April 2016 to let farmers and traders view all APMC (agriculture produce market committee)-related information and services, including commodity arrivals and prices, and buying and selling trade offers. This market helps the farmers to bid for the best price across markets.
In the budget 2017-18, the government had announced a mission to link 585 Mandis to the portal by March, 2018. As of now, around 470 markets have been covered.