No ‘Jai Kisaan’ in Budget 2020- A Farmer’s Verdict

by GoNews Desk 3 weeks ago Views 1660
No ‘Jai Kisaan’ in Budget 2020- A Farmer’s Verdict
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The author Ramandeep Singh Mann is a farmer and agriculture activist.

Our government is committed to the goal of doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022, said the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Union Budget 2020 on Saturday while she conveniently allocated 9.3% of the budget to agriculture, allied irrigation and rural development. The point to be noted here is that the previous budget had allocated 9.6% of the budget for the same. 

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Agri, Allied Irrigation and Rural Development allocation in 2019-20: was Rs 2.68 lakh crore, while this year's allocation is Rs 2.83 lakh crores.

If we factor in inflation, the allocation towards agriculture, allied irrigation, and rural development is in the negative.

The expectations were that the Finance Minister will increase the PM-KISAN allocations, i.e. raise the current Rs 6,000 financial assistance to farmers, which has not happened.

Many expected that Govt will get the point that money in the hands of people will spur "demand". But PM-KISAN allocations were kept the same i.e. Rs 75000 crore. While only Rs 54,370 crore was spent under PM-KISAN last year, MGNREGS allocation has been increased by a paltry Rs 1500 cr in this budget.

Cooperative societies will be treated equal to corporates by reducing Income Tax from 30% to 22%. This move will help Co-ops increase profits and will benefit farmers, only if these profits are shared with farmers.

Government plans to involve youth in fishery extension through 3477 Sagar Mitras and 500 Fish Farmer Producer Organisations. Govt also hopes to raise fishery exports to 1 lakh crore by 2024-25. This is a welcome approach.

Govt has proposed to increase fish production to 200 lakh tonnes by 2022-23 and plans to involve the youth living in coastal areas through fish processing and marketing. Govt wants to encourage the growth of algae, sea-weed and cage Culture. This is also a welcome approach.

"Youth in coastal areas benefit through fish processing and marketing. By 2022-23, I propose raising fish production to 200 lakh tonnes. Growing of algae, sea-weed and cage Culture will also be promoted," the FM said.

In 2018-19, FM promised Minimum Support Prices (MSP) will reach every single farmer, for which PM-AASHA scheme was instituted. In 2019-20, only Rs.1500 cr was allocated and Rs.321 cr spent! Allocation has now been slashed to Rs.500 cr!! During the past two years, most farmers didn't get the govt-announced MSP.

Market Intervention Scheme & Price Support Scheme allocation was 3000 crore in Budget 2019. This has been scaled down to 2000 crore in Budget 2020. Stifling money for the scheme which directly helps the farmers realize MSP does not make sense.