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Our track record in farm spending much better than UPA's: Radha Mohan Singh

At BS Agri Round Table, he said India won't need imported pulses by 2019

Sanjeeb Mukherjee  |  New Delhi 

BS Agri Roundtable 2017: We won't need to import pulses by 2019 says Radha Mohan Singh
Minister of Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh at Business Standard Agricultural Round Table-2017 in New Delhi. BS Photo: Dalip Kumar

The NDA government has a much better track record than the previous regime in budgetary allocation and spending in the farm sector, Union Agriculture Minister said at the Business Standard Agriculture Round Table On ‘Doubling Farmers Income by 2022’ on Tuesday.

Between 2010-11 and 2013-14, the government made a budgetary provision of Rs 104,337 crore for agriculture, the minister said. However, the current government has allocated Rs 164,415 crore for the sector between 2014-15 and 2017-18, a rise of 57.58 per cent from the previous regime, he elaborated.

He compared the spending figures too. In 2011-12 (when the was in power), a budgetary allocation of Rs 24,526 crore was made for agriculture, while the actual spending was Rs  23,290 crore. In 2012-13, against an allocation of Rs 28,284 crore, the spending was just Rs 24,630 crore. In 2013-14, the budgetary allocation was Rs 30,224 crore for agriculture and allied sectors, while the expenditure was just around Rs 25,896 crore.

“At the same time, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in 2016-17, a budget of Rs 45,035 crore was allocated for agriculture and allied sectors, while the actual spending was higher at over Rs 57,503 crore,” Singh said.

The Centre is committed to doubling farmers’ income by 2022 and steps taken in this direction have already started bearing fruit in some sectors, according to the minister.

“People also need to adjust their mindset with the fast-paced changes taking place in all spheres,” Singh pointed out.  

The minister listed out some of the success stories under the current government. For instance, irrigation schemes pending for decades have been fast-tracked, many of which will get completed in the next few years. Also, due to the efforts of the government, India will become self-sufficient in in the next two years, he said. 

The production of was pegged at a record 22.95 million tonnes in the 2016-17 crop year (July-June) as against 16.35 million tonnes in the previous year. The country imported about 5 million tonnes of last fiscal.

With bumper output and low domestic price, the government recently restricted import of some varieties of pulses, which will lead to reduction in imports this fiscal. "production increased by about 6.5 million tonnes last year. We will not have to import after two years," Singh said.

The government is focused on raising the production of oilseeds to cut imports of edible oils, the minister reiterated. Also, he stated that the government is emphatic on better management of both input and output in the agriculture sector.

Talking about schemes like soil health card, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana and neem coating of urea, Singh stressed that these would help in reducing the cost of production and raising output. Plus, new crop insurance scheme and programme to link 585 wholesale mandies on electronic platform (eNAM) would help in better remuneration to farmers, he said.

Production of milk, egg and fish has increased by 15-20 per cent in the last three years, according to government estimates. Honey production too has risen as the government is focusing on 'sweet revolution' to supplement farmers' income, the minister pointed out.

Bringing out the need of value addition to boost farmers' income, the minister said the government had recently launched Rs 6,000-crore 'SAMPADA' scheme to boost food processing sector in the country. 

The Union government offers a subsidy of 5 per cent as interest on short-term crop loans, while farmers have to bear just 4 per cent of the interest. States like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Rajasthan and Punjab bear the additional burden from their own revenues, which is why they are able to provide crop loans at zero rate, the minister said.

On output management, Singh gave credit to initiatives such as price stabilization fund, market intervention scheme and minimum support price for providing price support to farmers.

First Published: Wed, October 25 2017. 03:15 IST