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(For Early Tuesday) Agri and rural ministry officials to meet FM on Tuesday

The Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry officials who will be meeting the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for pre-Budget discussions on Tuesday are likely to seek more funds for Interest Subsidy for Short Term Credit to Farmers and for Market Intervention Schemes from what has been allocated to in the interim Budget.

Under the scheme, interest subvention is provided to NABARD, regional rural banks, cooperative banks, public sector banks and scheduled private sector banks for providing short term credit to farmers at subsidized rate of interest.

The FM will hold her Pre-Budget consultation meetings from today.

The Budget allocation for agriculture has risen to 90 per cent in the interim Budget from Rs 67,800 crore in the 2018-19 Budget estimates to Rs 1,29,585 crore.

The Agriculture Ministry will also have budgetary allocation for animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries. In the interim Budget, the government had proposed creation of a separate department for fisheries and a 2% interest subvention on loans to fish farmers to help boost seafood production and exports. Since this sector is a employment-intensive and export-based, the ministry will seek favourable policies towards the sector.

The interim Budget has allocated Rs 18,000 crore for the interest subsidy and Rs 3,000 crore for the Market Intervention Scheme and Price Support Scheme (MIS-PSS). Given the stress on doubling farmers' income by 2022 and improving the lot of the farmers even before that, these two schemes may be picthed by the farm ministry for more allocation in the Budget.

The Income Support Scheme has been Budgeted at Rs 75,000 crore in 2019-20 where as Rs 20,000 crore was budgeted last fiscal since the scheme was operational in 2018-19.

The ministry and other agri financial agencies such as NABARD are like to pitch for the market linkage infrastructure, including warehousing and processing of farm produce.

Rural Development Ministry representatives, who will be meeting the FM along with officials from the Agriculture Ministry, has already seen its allocation up by 5% in the interim Budget. The ministry is the nodal department for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme (MGNREGA), Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awaas Yojana (PMAY-G), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) and the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), besides some other Centrally-sponsored schemes.

--IANS

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