Budget 2018: The 2018-19 Union Budget has laid significant emphasis on the government’s goal to double farmer income by FY22. Steps in this direction include timely implementation of key past initiatives as well as new policy measures. The GoI has proposed to have a structure to ensure that farmers get MSP even when crop prices are lower. MSP for kharif is proposed to be fixed at 1.5 times the cost of production. To ensure adequate and timely farm credit, the target for agriculture credit has been raised to Rs 11 lakh crore for FY19 from Rs 10 lakh crore last year. To address productivity of 96 severely under-irrigated districts, Rs 2,600 crore has been allocated under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana.
The GoI has announced that 470 Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) had been linked to National Agricultural Market (e-NAM) to date and the remaining 115 APMCs would be linked by March, 2018. It has also proposed to upgrade about 22,000 rural haats into Grameen Agricultural markets (GrAMs). Further, a sum of Rs 2,200 crore has been allocated for an Agricultural market fund to develop and upgrade infrastructure across the 22000 GrAMs and 585 APMCs, allowing bulk purchasers to directly procure from farmers.
As for the fertiliser sector, the downward revision in the revised estimates (Rs 64,999 cr) of subsidy for 2017-18 against the budgeted estimates (Rs 70,000 crore) would continue to strain the liquidity of the sector owing to subsidy backlogs. For FY2018-19, the Budget subsidy has been increased to Rs 70,000 crore.