Interim Budget 2019: Allocation for farm, rural sector up 43%

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New Delhi, Feb 1 (IANS) The NDA government’s last budget on Friday laid extra emphasis on the farm and rural sector with announcement of direct income transfer of Rs 6,000 to farmers, besides enhancing the outlay by over 43 per cent year-on-year to Rs 2.89 lakh crore for 2019-20.

The increase comes to 30 per cent when compared to the revised budget estimates for 2018-19, which was Rs 2.22 lakh crore.

Presenting the Interim Budget in the Lok Sabha for 2019-20, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said agriculture is the main driver of the rural economy and there is a need to provide income support to farmers with small and marginal land holdings, who are facing problem of lower returns.

Goyal said the government has earmarked Rs 75,000 crore for the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) in the total allocation of Rs 1.50 lakh crore for agriculture and allied activities. The rural sector has received Rs 1.39 lakh crore.

“This income support will be transferred directly to the bank accounts of the farmers in three equal instalments of Rs 2,000 each,” he said, adding that the scheme would be funded 100 per cent by the Central government.

The government has allocated Rs 20,000 crore for the PM-KISAN in the revised estimates of the current year as the scheme will be effective from December 1, 2018.

The government has allocated Rs 14,000 crore for the crop insurance scheme — Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana for 2019-20 — as against Rs 13,000 crore an year ago.

Goyal said the farm loans have increased to Rs 11.68 lakh crore in 2018-19. Total allocation for interest subsidy for short-term credit to farmers has been increased from Rs 15,000 crore for 2018-19 to Rs 18,000 for 2019-20.

He said the benefit of two per cent interest subvention would be provided to the farmers pursuing activities of animal husbandry and fishery who avail loans through the Kisan Credit Card (KCC).

The Minister proposed to provide benefit of 3 per cent interest subvention for disaster-affected farmers for the entire period of reschedulement — from the earlier period of one year — besides interest subvention of 2 per cent.

Centrally-sponsored schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, National Mission on Horticulture and Sub-Mission on Agriculture mechanisation have slight changes in their allocation for 2019-20.

The total outlay for the Ministry of Food Processing Industries is Rs 1,196 crore in 2019-20 as against Rs 1,000 crore in the revised budget for 2018-19.

The government has allocated of Rs 1.92 lakh crore for the Food Ministry, out of which Rs 1.84 lakh crore has been set aside for food subsidy.

For the rural sector, the government has earmarked Rs 60,000 crore for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme that aims at enhancing livelihood security of rural households.

The government had allocated Rs 61,084 crore for the scheme in the revised estimates for the current year from Rs 55,000 it had earmarked when the Budget for 2018-19 was announced.

During his budget speech, Goyal said the government would shell out more funds for the scheme, if required.

Stating that the government intendes to break the urban-rural divide in the country, Goyal said road construction works under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) has been tripled.

The allocation to the PMGSY has been enhanced to Rs 19,000 crore for 2019-20 from Rs 15,500 crore in the revised budget of current year.

–IANS

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