Agriculture

Budget 2017-18 expectations: ensure food security, minimise rural distress

This year’s budget must focus on preventing farmer suicides, strengthening crop insurance scheme and guaranteeing rural employment

 
By Jitendra
Last Updated: Friday 27 January 2017 | 05:55:51 AM

Will the Budget 2017 be successful in helping distressed farmers (Credit: Ananth BS/Flickr)

Successive droughts, ill-timed demonetisation and unseasonal rain have put farmers in distress. Lack of any assured income has further abetted farmer suicides. Going by the reports, more than one farmer committed suicide every hour in 2015. The Union Budget 2017-18 should primarily confront this issue by ensuring guaranteed income.

Currently, guaranteed procurement is only confined to two crops—wheat and paddy. Government should chalk out plan to extend this facility to other grains.

Increase production of pulses and edible oils

The country is witnessing a deficit of edible oils production for more than two decades now. Huge decline in pulse production is also a concern. Instead of encouraging domestic production, the government has been relying on imports. Country has been importing around 70 per cent of its total edible oil and 25 per cent of pulses.

It is time the budget dealt with these issues to help farmers and make country self-dependent.

Prevention of post-harvest loss

The Centre should consider a plan for setting up infrastructure to prevent post-harvest loss of agricultural produce. According to an assessment, India incurs post-harvest loss worth Rs 100,000 crore.

Country had faced consecutive drought for two years, 2014-15 and 2015-16. It had made agriculture more vulnerable than ever. In the light of the Supreme Court judgment on giving relief to drought-hit farmers, the government should come up with plan for measures to deal with future droughts.

PMFBY

The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), a flagship crop insurance scheme, should be implemented in letter and spirit. The non-loanee farmers are not showing interest in it, with faulty compensation mechanism cited as one of the primary reasons. The Agriculture Insurance Company Limited (AICL), which is at the helm of the scheme’s implementation, is running headless.

MGNREGS

The flagship scheme for employment generation in rural areas has seen highest allocation ever in the fiscal year 2016-17. The allocation reached to Rs 43,500 crore. The scheme helped rural population to fight distress because of consecutive droughts.

It is expected that the Union Budget 2017-18 will increase allocation to the scheme in order to minimise rural distress. There is also a need for increasing wage and establishing social audit cell to make it more effective.    

Rural roads

The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), a flagship scheme for building rural roads, got highest allocation of Rs 19,000 crore in the last year’s budget. However, more than 13,000 habitations still remain unconnected. This year’s budget is expected to make significant fund allocation to meet the 2019 deadline of completing rural connectivity through all-weather roads.

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Related Story:

State-run insurance firms headless; PMFBY implementation suffers

Every hour, a farmer committed suicide in 2015

IEP Resources:

Evaluation study on role of Public Distribution System in shaping household and nutritional security India

Social safety nets for food and nutritional security in India

Guidelines for securing full employment status to MGNREGA workers through Project for Livelihoods in Full Employment (Project LIFE-MGNREGA)

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act: a catalyst for rural transformation

India rural development report 2012-13

Implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005: Standing Committee on Rural Development (2012-13)

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  • Arun Jaitleyji:
    Kindly consider the following in the ensuing budget:
    1. Decrease the Income Tax Rates so that people voluntarily pay the Tax.
    2. Increase the Saving limit of Rs 1 lakh under Section 80 C to 3 Lakhs.
    3. Increase the lower limit to come under Income Tax Purview.
    4. Just like Land Ceiling in the past Asset Ceiling for Individuals(Though Drastic and revolutionary).
    5. Create a “Renewable Energy Fund” and contributions by people under Section 80C to be exempted from Income Tax. This way there will be huge funds available for Renewable Energy and People’s participation in Development.
    6. Revive the “Innovation Fund” created by Previous Government.
    7.Creation of “Youth Economic Zones” to utilize vast Waste lands.
    8. Setting up of ‘Occupational Promotion Centres’ in select Districts.
    9. Funding “Urja Museums” in the 4 Regions of the country
    10. A scheme to provide loans to Farmers to go for PVC Pipes for irrigation.
    PVC PIPES IN FARM IRRIGATION TO SAVE WATER:
    Today many farmers have farm water irrigation through open canals where there will be water seepage losses and evaporation. In 1970 we had cement pipes made locally for irrigation. Unfortunately the coconut trees nearby roots penetrated into the cement pipes(made locally) and they broke. So we run now the water in open canals.
    I suggest Union Government can draw a scheme to finance PVC pipes for Irrigation to medium and small Farmers for irrigation at low interest rates. It can be Joint programme between Centre and State Governments.
    Hundreds of Crores of Rs were spent on “Inkudu Guntalu” Percolation Pits . The results are discouraging. On the other hand it makes sense to conserve already available water for irrigation of Fields through PVC pipes from Evaporation of water and seepage.
    Big irrigation Projects takes years to get completed besides many clearances. Small projects of Water Saving involving millions of Farmers are needed to bring rural prosperity and higher agricultural production. Farmers are the backbone of the Nation.
    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP)

    Posted by: Dr.A.Jagadeesh | 2 years ago | Reply