Union Budget 2018: Raise in support price, farm credit

SansadTV Bureau
Village girls planting paddy saplings in a field near Dhona station in Bareilly, UP on Thursday.

FILE: Village girls planting paddy saplings in a field near Dhona station in Bareilly, UP. PTI

In a major bonanza to farmers, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced fixing support price of Kharif crops like paddy at least 50 per cent higher than the cost of production, while raising farm credit target for the next fiscal by 10 per cent to Rs 11 lakh crore.

The Union finance minister once again reiterated the government’s commitment to welfare of farmers saying that the emphasis is to generate higher income for farmers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given a clarion call to double the farmers’ income by 2022, he added.

Presenting the Union Budget in Lok Sabha, Arun Jaitley said the government has decided to fix the minimum support price (MSP) of coming Kharif (summer sown) crops, which include maize, soyabean and pulses, at least one-and-half times the cost of production.

He said the MSPs of most of rabi (winter sown) crops have already been raised.

The government will ensure farmers get MSP even if prices fall, for which Niti Aayog will discuss with state governments the putting in place of an institutional mechanism to ensure that farmers get better prices for their produce, the Finance Minister said.

Referring to the poll-promise, he said the NDA had promised that farmers will be offered at least 50 per cent more than the cost of production and the government is sensitive towards this.

He also proposed hiking the agricultural credit target for the next fiscal by Rs 1 lakh crore to a whopping Rs 11 lakh crore. The target was Rs 8.5 lakh crore in 2014-15 and has been gradually increasing under the NDA government.

The government will set up fisheries and aqua culture infra fund and animal husbandry infra fund with an outlay of Rs 10,000 crore.

Jaitley said that 470 mandis (wholesale market) have been electronically linked under e-NAM (National Agriculture Market) programme out of 585 mandis. The remaining will be linked by March 2018.

The allocation of food processing ministry has also been doubled to Rs 1,400 crore.

(With inputs from PTI)