Agriculture sees little trigger for cheer

Overall allocation for agriculture has risen marginally however schemes for crop insurance coverage, MSP have seen a dip in funds this funds

Union Budget 2022-23 launched February 1, noticed restricted give attention to the agriculture sector and associated insurance policies. The total allocation elevated by a meagre 4.4 per cent for the 12 months, at the same time as necessary schemes for crop insurance coverage and minimal assist worth (MSP) noticed a drastic slashing of funds. 

The Budget speech noticed no point out of the Union authorities’s bold plan to double farm incomes, which reaches its deadline this 12 months (2022).

The total allocation for the sector elevated marginally to Rs 132,513.62 crore in 2022-23, from the 2021-22 revised estimates (RE) of Rs 126,807.86 crore.

However, the Market Intervention Scheme and Price Support Scheme (MIS-PSS) was allotted Rs 1,500 crore, 62 per cent lower than Rs 3,959.61 crore in revised estimates (RE) of FY 2021-22.

The Pradhan Mantri-Annadata Aya Sanrakshan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA) noticed a good deeper minimize. It was allotted simply Rs 1 crore for the 12 months as towards an expenditure of Rs 400 crore in 2021-22. Both schemes guarantee MSP-based procurement operations within the nation, particularly for pulses and oilseeds.

The reductions come at a time when an assured MSP continues to be one of many key calls for of farm unions that ended their year-long protest towards the Union authorities’s three agricultural legal guidelines associated to advertising reforms and stocking of important commodities. The protest ended on the Centre’s assurance {that a} committee on MSP can be established.

“There can be two reasons for this reduction, especially in PM-AASHA. Either the government is anticipating that prices of pulses and oilseeds will remain expensive (due to the ongoing food inflation) in 2022-23 and will not be sold at MSP,” Shweta Saini, a senior fellow with the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations who researches on Indian agricultural insurance policies, mentioned.

“The other reason could be that it is looking to wind up the scheme — an indication that is not faring well. But the low allocation is questionable on the grounds that the government has been saying that it will procure under MSP and talking about nutrition security,” she added. 

In phrases of meals and diet safety, the Budget doc mentions an intention to offer particular emphasis on pulses and nutri cereals, past 2021-22, to realize self sufficiency in these crops together with dietary safety.

However, even allocation beneath meals and nutritionál safety has come all the way down to Rs 1,395 crore from Rs 1,540 crore in RE 2021-22.

The ‘Distribution of Pulses to state / Union territories for Welfare Schemes’ that goals to dispose pulses procured for utilisation beneath noon meals, public distribution system, amongst others, noticed an allocation of simply Rs 9 crore.

The 2021-22 funds estimate for a similar was Rs 300 crore however precise expenditure was Rs 50 crore. “This again shows that the government is not anticipating procurement and distribution of pulses at MSP,” Saini mentioned.

In her speech, Sitharaman mentioned 16.3 million farmers benefited from 120.8 million tonnes of paddy and wheat procurement at MSP in 2021-22. This is a discount from the 19.7 million farmers that benefited from procurement of 128.6 million tonnes in 2021, Yogendra Yadav of Jai Kisan Andolan, a farmers’ union, mentioned.

The Rs 2.37 lakh made in direct funds for the procurement can also be lower than the Rs 2.48 lakh crore made in 2020-21. 

Poor present

Allocation for Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) or crop insurance coverage scheme was additionally decreased marginally to Rs 15,500 crore for this 12 months from Rs 15,989 crore in 2021-22. This is important within the backdrop of a gradual fall within the variety of farmers beneath the scheme as they don’t discover it helpful.

Allocation to the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) elevated to Rs 500 crore in 2022-23 from Rs 200 crore in RE for 2021-22. It was, nevertheless, Rs 900 crore in final 12 months’s funds estimate.

The Rs one lakh crore AIF was introduced in May 2020 as a part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and was meant for spending over the next six years.

However, specialists mentioned its dismal expenditure indicated poor implementation.

“Only Rs 6,627 crore worth projects have been sanctioned until now after two years and the actual disbursals are much lower at only Rs 2,654 crore. This is about 2.6 per cent only of the target (one lakh crore),” mentioned a press release by Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture.

Boost for improvement schemes

One shiny spot within the agriculture funds is the give attention to the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) that has been dropping its sheen in the previous couple of years.

The programme has been restructured to incorporate schemes like:

  • Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojna-Per Drop More Crop
  • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna
  • National Project on Soil and Health Fertility
  • Rainfed Area Development and Climate Change
  • Sub-Mission on Agriculture Mechanization together with Management of Crop Residue

These schemes had been earlier part of the Green Revolution programme. “This scheme has been running since 2007-08 and allocations had reduced over the years. But the government has resurrected it in this budget, which is a welcome step,” Saini mentioned. She additionally mentioned the scheme will give extra autonomy to states they usually can prioritise their spending beneath this.

Allocation to RKVY was Rs 10,433 crore, whereas RE for the Green Revolution programme for 2021-22 stand at Rs 8,852.65 crore. 

Allocation beneath PM-KISAN, which gives earnings assist by the use of money profit to all land holding farmers, has additionally elevated marginally to Rs 68,000 crore from Rs 67,500 crore final 12 months.

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