Jan 11, 2017 08:46 PM IST IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com
Budget 2017: FM may unveil stimulus for agri, rural economy
There is heightened expectation that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will announce a string of steps in Budget 2017 to minimise the demonetisation pain for farmers.
The economy-wide drain out of the old notes has left many farmers with no cash to buy seeds in the middle of the sowing season. Official data, however, suggests that sowing has been more in 2016 compared to the previous year.
Already, the government has also waived of interest for 60 days on existing farm loans for the latest kharfi and rabi crops. The waived amount will be directly transferred to the farmers' bank accounts.
The government has also expanded Nabard's lendable corpus pool by Rs 20,000 crore from the current Rs 21,000 crore-a move aimed at allowing the refinance agency to lend at cheaper rates to rural banks. This could bring down final borrowing rates for farmers. More than 40 percent of small and marginal farmers' loan needs are met through the cooperative credit structure.
Besides, 3 crore Kisan Credit Cards will be transformed to RuPay credit cards in the next three months, to enable farmers to transact at any place without going to their respective bank branches.
A substantial jump in the budget allocation of ministry of rural development is also widely expected. The Budget may also introduce a new scheme to pull the poor in the rural areas out of poverty.