Tuesday, August 20, 2019


Budget: No mention of food processing; direct benefit scheme for farmers
Friday, 01 February, 2019, 15 : 00 PM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi 
The Modi government, in the past, highlighted value addition and food processing as one of the dimensions for India’s growth story in the next 10 years, however, the subject did not find a mention in the Interim Budget 2019-20 speech by Finance Minister Piyush Goel, which he delivered in Parliament on February 1, 2019.

Goel, in his speech, said that making India self-sufficient in food production and exporting to world to support its need and producing food in a more organic way is the vision of the government for the next 10 years.

“High farm production and productivity will be achieved through modern agricultural technological intervention and value addition,” he said while adding that an integrated approach for agriculture and food processing vis-à-vis packaging, maintenance of cold chain will be focus of attention in the next 10 years.

Meanwhile, he said that a direct benefit scheme through bank transfer to the small and marginal farmers of Rs 6,000 per annum will commence. Called, “Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)” is to extend direct income support at the rate of Rs 6,000 per year to farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectare.

While presenting the Interim Budget 2019-20, the minister said, “Our government is launching a historic programme PM-KISAN with an outlay of Rs 75,000 crore for the FY 2019-20 and Rs 20,000 crore in the Revised Estimates of FY 2018-19.”

Further, the government announced creation of separate fisheries department under the ministry of agriculture and cooperation.

On credit front, Goel said that it is proposed to provide 2% interest subvention to the farmers pursuing the activities of animal husbandry and fisheries, who avail loan through Kisan Credit Card. Further, in case of timely repayment of loan, they will also get an additional 3% interest subvention.

Also announced in the Budget was allocation of Rs 750 crore for Rashtriya Gokul Mission for the current year itself along with setting up of "Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog" to upscale sustainable genetic upgradation of cow resources and to enhance production and productivity of cows. The Aayog will also look after effective implementation of laws and welfare schemes for cow.
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