Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tabled Union Budget 2018-19 on Thursday in parliament. This was his fifth and last budget before the Modi government completes its term in 2019. Following are few features that would impact the agricultural and rural economy.
- Jaitley has reasserted the government’s intention to double the income for farmers and to enhance agricultural produce from lands of farmers. In a major respite for farmers, minimum support price (MSP) for all Kharif crops has been increased to 1.5 times the cost of production.
- Agricultural market corpus of Rs 2,000 will be created for 22,000 Gramin agricultural markets and 585 APMCs and infra fund. For organic farming, cluster development model of agricultural commodities will be encouraged.
- Allocation for Food Processing Ministry has been doubled. Operation Green will produce farmer producer organization, logistics, warehousing etc allocation of Rs 500 crore. Export of agri-commodity has been liberalized to meet India’s agricultural exports potential of $100 billion.
- To boost bamboo sector and animal husbandry, Kisan credit cards will now be extended to fisheries and animal husbandry farmers. A restructured national bamboo mission with the corpus of Rs 1,290 crore will be set up. Rs 10,000 crore are allocated to set up two funds to promote fisheries and animal husbandry.
- Government to encourage favorable taxation treatment for farmer-producers organizations. To ensure agriculture received boost, agricultural products will now be in futures markets. In a big-ticket announcement, Jaitley proposed Rs 11 lakh crore for credit for the farm sector. He also announced a special scheme to manage crop residue.
- In the energy coverage push, Rs 16,000 crore for PM Saubhagya Yojana was allocated for connecting 4 crore households with free electricity.