Reviving the deteriorating state of agriculture in India has been a key focus of Modi‘s agenda in UPA government. In February itself, the Prime Minister launched the soil health card scheme in Suratgarh, Rajasthan.
As expected, the Budget 2015 presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley focuses on development of agriculture with emphasises on reforms, credit facility and financial assistance.
The FM proposed a sum of Rs 25,000 crore for agricultural infrastructure and said the government will aim for farm credit of Rs 8.5 lakh crore in FY16.
Furthermore, Jaitley proposed an allocation of Rs 5300 crore to support micro-irrigation in the country.
The department of agriculture was expected face budget estimate cuts of more than 25 percent to Rs 16,650 crore from Rs 22,300 crore. However, the plan size for agriculture has not been altered with states bringing in the rest of the money.
Reviving the deteriorating state of agriculture in India has been a key focus of Modi’s agenda in UPA government. In February itself, the Prime Minister launched the soil health card scheme in Suratgarh, Rajasthan. The scheme will provide all 145 million farm owners in the country with a soil health card in the next three years.
Describing 'agriculture as key to poverty eradication', Modi had also asked Niti Aayog and state governments to set up expert committees on agriculture to work out a common minimum programme for providing a boost to the sector.
As per reports, the agriculture ministry released Rs 86 crore for the soil health card scheme between May and December 2014. In comparison, between 2007-08 and April 2014, the ministry had spent Rs 112 crore on the scheme. The flagship scheme of the ministry has been sanctioned Rs 568 crore for the next three years.
A similar scheme, the National Project for Management of Soil Health and Fertility, was launched during 2008-09 by the previous United Progressive Alliance government.
Highlights of Budget 2014
- A sustainable growth of 4 percent in Agriculture will be achieved
- To provide institutional finance to landless farmers, it is proposed to provide finance to Rs 5 lakh joint farming groups of “Bhoomi Heen Kisan” through NABARD .
- A target of Rs 8 lakh crore has been set for agriculture credit during 2014-15.
- A scheme to provide every farmer a soil health card in a Mission mode will be launched. Rs 100 crore has been provided for this purpose and additional Rs 56 crore to set up 100 Mobile Soil Testing Laboratories across the country.