Union Budget 2018: A slew of measures announced in the Budget 2018 will transform the farm sector in a big way, increase farmers’ income and help achieve higher growth, Agriculture Secretary S K Pattanayak has said. “It is a pro-farmer budget, very much focused on developing the entire farm sector. We are certain that we will be able to transform agriculture in a big way. We will be able to achieve very good growth,” Pattanayak told PTI. It is very difficult to say the growth figure at this point of time for the next fiscal, but the effective roll out of the measures will help scale up production in farm and allied sectors, ensure better returns to farmers, he added. As per the 1st advanced estimates by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), agriculture growth is pegged lower at 2.1 per cent for the 2017-18 fiscal, compared with 4.9 per cent last years.
Hailing the Union Budget 2018, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh tweeted that the Modi government fulfilled its major poll promise made to farmers with regard to MSP. Higher allocation to the agriculture sector shows the government’s commitment towards rural areas, poor and farmers, he added. Yesterday, the government presented its last full budget before the general elections in 2019, committing to fulfil BJP’s poll promise of fixing support price 50 per cent more than the cost of production for kharif crops.
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The budget allocation for the agriculture ministry has been increased by 13 per cent to Rs 58,080 crore for the 2018 -19 fiscal, from Rs 51,576 crore for this year, while the allocation for food processing ministry has been doubled to Rs 1,400 crore for the said period.
In Union Budget 2018, the farm credit target has been raised to Rs 11 lakh crore for 2018-19 from Rs 10 lakh crore this year, while funds for Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bhima Yojana (PMFBY) has been increased to Rs 13,000 crore from Rs 10,698 crore. That apart, the government announced two separate funds with a corpus of Rs 10,000 crore to create infrastructure in fishery, aquaculture and animal husbandry sectors, Rs 2,000 crore as agri-market infrastructure fund and Rs 1,290 crore for the national bamboo mission. Among others, the facility of Kisan Credit Cards has been extended to fisheries and animal husbandry farmers to help them meet their working capital needs.