Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam
“Our government is committed to the welfare of farmers,” this is how Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman began to speak about the various reforms in agriculture during Budget 2021 in the Parliament on Monday, 1 February, amid sloganeering and uproar by Opposition leaders.
The FM focused on the rise in MSP benefiting farmers, increasing agriculture credit target and development of fisheries.
“The MSP regime has undergone a change to assure price that is at least 1.5 times the cost of production across all commodities. The procurement has also continued and increased at a steady pace. This has resulted in increase in payment to farmers,” Sitharaman continued.
Catch all live updates of the Budget announcement here.
MSP Regime Led to Increase of Payment to Farmers
“In case of wheat, the total amount paid to farmers in 2013-2014 was Rs 33,874 crore. In 2019-2020, it was Rs 62,802 crore and even better, in 2020-2021, this amount paid to farmers was Rs 75,060 crore.”
Adding that the number of farmers growing farmers that benefited, increased in 2021 to 43.36 lakh compared to 25.57 lakh in 2019-2020.
“For Paddy, the amount paid in 2013-2014 was Rs 63,926 crore, in 2019-2020, this increased to Rs 1,41,930 crore. Even better, in 2020-2021, this is further estimated (as procurement is ongoing) to Rs 1,72,752 crore.”
The Finance Minister added that the number of farmers who benefited increased from 1.24 crore in 2019-2020 to 1.54 crore in 2020-2021.
In the case of pulses, the amount paid in 2013-2014 was 236 crore, in 2019-2020 this was increased to Rs 8,085 crore. Now in 2021, it is at Rs 10,530 crore. More than 40 times the increase from 2013-2014.
“In the case of cotton farmers, receipts have seen a stupendous increase from Rs 90 crore 2013-2014 to 25,974 crore in 2021.”
Under the central government scheme called Swamitva, launched by PM Modi on 24 April 2020, Sitharaman said that 1.80 lakh property owners in 1,241 villages were provided with a record of rights. The purpose of the record of rights is to enable the farmer to use their homes as financial assets to take loans and other financial benefits from banks. “I propose during 2021-2022 to extend this to cover all states and Union Territories.”
Credit to Farmers
“To provide adequate credit to farmers, we have enhanced the agricultural credit target to Rs 16.5 lakh crore. We will focus on ensuring increased credit flow to animal husbandry, dairy and to the fisheries.”
She added that the budget will see an enhancement of the rural infrastructure development fund from Rs 30,000 crore to Rs 40,000 core. The micro-irrigation fund of Rs 5,000 crore has been doubled under NABARD.
She added that Operation Green Scheme, which only includes onions, potatoes and tomatoes, will now include 22 perishable crops.
1,000 Mandis to Be Added to ENAMs
ENAMs, or the online national agriculture markets, has seen the registration of around 1.68 crore farmers where trade worth 1.14 lakh crore of rupees has been carried out. “Keeping in view the transparency and competitiveness, that ENAMs have brought the agricultural markets 1,000 more mandis, will be integrated.”
She added that with this the agricultural infrastructure fund will be made available to the APMCs to augment their infrastructural facilities.
Development of Fisheries
“To start with, five major fishing harbours, Kochi, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Petuaghat will be developed as hubs of economic activity,” she said adding that fish landing centres will be developed.
For the development of coastal communities Sitharaman raised seaweed farming as an important aspect of growth, “Seaweed farming is an emerging sector with the ability to transform the lives of coastal communities. It will provide large scale employment and additional incomes. To promote seaweed farming and cultivation, i PROPOSE A multi-purpose seaweed park to be established in Tamil Nadu.”