New Delhi, Feb 1 (IANS) Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday mooted a 16-point plan to revive the agriculture and allied sectors.
Presenting her second Union Budget on Saturday, Sitharaman announced funding allocations totalling Rs 4.06 lakh crore for the agriculture and rural sectors.
Out of this, Rs 2.83 lakh crore will be allocated to agriculture while Rs 1.23 lakh crore will be provided for rural development and Panchayati Raj.
Announcing her 16-point programme to boost agriculture and allied rural sectors, Sitharaman said the Central government proposes to encourage the state governments to undertake implementation of three modern agriculture laws, including the Contract Farming Act 2018 and the Land Leasing Act 2016 .
Comprehensive measures for 100 water-stressed districts, expansion of PM Kusum Scheme to enable 20 lakh standalone farmers to set up solar power plants, promoting balanced use of fertilisers are also part of the proposed 16-point plan.
In a bid to involve more women and increase income generation for women, the Finance Minister announced the Dhanyalakshmi Village Storage scheme to be managed by women self help groups. The scheme will help farmers store more of their farm produce and reduce logistics costs.
Under the 16-point plan, Sitharaman plans to introduce rail and air transport support for transporting perishable agriproduce. Kisan Express, in public-private-partnership, from the Indian Railways and Krishi Udaan from Ministry of Civil Aviation are to be introduced for this purpose.
The horticulture sector will also be a thrust area under Sitharaman’s 16-point programme. Under the plan, states will be encouraged to promote the concept of ‘one district — one product’. Similarly, integrated farming systems such as bee-keeping will be encouraged in rainfed areas.
Sitharaman also announced that the NABARD finance scheme will be further strengthened.
Eliminating ‘foot and mouth’ disease in cattle and PPR in sheep and goat by 2025 is also part of the plan. Artificial insemination of livestock is to be increased from 30 per cent to 70 per cent.
Developing marine produce is also on the anvil with plans to raise fish production to 200 lakh tonnes by 2125. Involving coastal youth in fishing activities through Sagar Mitras is also part of the Finance Minister’s plan to stimulate the agri and allied sectors.