Budget 2018: Here’s why agriculture is top priority for Finance Minister Arun Jaitley this time

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Updated: January 19, 2018 11:30:06 PM

Union Budget 2018 is just three weeks away and the government is making sure agriculture sector is the topmost priority this time around. On Sunday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the country’s economic growth is not “justifiable and equitable” unless the benefits are “clear and evident” in the farm sector.

agriculture, industry, agrarian sector, agrarian sector success story, agriculture vs industry, gdp, farmingThe government’s priority in Budget 2018 would be to ensure the gains made by the economy reach the farmers, said Arun Jaitley. (Image: Reuters)

Union Budget 2018 is just three weeks away and the government is making sure agriculture sector is the topmost priority this time around. On Sunday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the country’s economic growth is not “justifiable and equitable” unless the benefits are “clear and evident” in the farm sector. The statement shows how the government’s priority in Budget 2018 would be to ensure the gains made by the economy reach the farmers and the growth is visible even in the farm sector. Arun Jaitley was speaking at an event to launch options trading in a farm commodity on National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX).

“India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and the growth is benefiting people in different sectors. But maximum population is dependent on agri-sector and unless the gains are clear and evident, the (economic) growth is not justifiable and equitable,” Arun Jaitley said. Even as the date of the Union Budget 2018 nears, the latest data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows that the country’s economic growth is expected to slow to a four-year low of 6.5 percent in FY18, the lowest under the Modi-led government, mainly due to the poor performance of agriculture and manufacturing sectors. The CSO has pegged farm and allied sector growth to slow to 2.1 percent in the current fiscal year from 4.9 percent in the preceding year.  

“Ensuring the benefits reach the agri-sector and growth is visible — this is among the priority areas for us.” Arun Jaitley further said, “We see in some places the problem of falling prices because of higher production. Farmers are not getting the price for their produce, he added. Many steps have been taken in the past few years to take farmers out of this situation, Arun Jaitley said, adding, “There has been some impact.” Lauding the contribution of farmers, he said they have left no stone unturned to serve the nation. They have worked hard to turn a food shortage country into a surplus one now. However, due to higher production, they are now faced with falling prices, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. It shows that the government is issuing high priority to the farm sector in Budget 2018.

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Last year, farmers protested over multiple agriculture-related issues including crop loan waiver and plummeting crop prices in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country. In addition, there have been instances of farmer deaths while they protested over minimum support price for their farm produce. Therefore, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley must ensure that Union Budget 2018 makes adequate provisions to placate the demands of the farm-sector of the country.

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