Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman promised to add 1,000 more regulated markets to the electronic national agriculture market, or e-NAM, platform.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1 announced a slew of measures for farmers and said the Union Budget 2021-22 was aimed at doubling the farmers’ income.
The Finance Minister, in her Budget speech, highlighted the rising government spending for purchasing grains and pulses at support prices, and promised to further strengthen the state-regulated markets, or Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs).
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“The government is and has always been open to dialogue with farmers. The agriculture minister has been ready to have clause-by-clause discussion with farmers on farm laws. Hence we believe that the dialogue is the way forward,” Sitharaman said in the post-budget press conference.
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This comes at a time when thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting at Delhi borders for more than two months seeking a complete repeal of three contentious farm reform laws.
Sitharaman promised to add 1,000 more regulated markets to the electronic national agriculture market, or e-NAM, platform.
Sitharaman said the procurement of crops like paddy, wheat, pulses and cotton has jumped manifold in the last six years. As many as 43.36 lakh farmers have benefited from these payments, she said.
She said the value of wheat procured has gone up from Rs 33,874 crore in FY14 to Rs 75,060 crore in FY21, while the value of paddy procured has increased from Rs 63,928 crore to Rs 1.7 lakh crore during the period.
“Cotton farmers saw stupendous increase in the amount that was paid to them in FY14, from Rs 90 crore to over Rs 25,000 crore in FY21,” she said.
The minister said Rs 75,100 crore have been allocated for the farmers of the country. She also announced an increase in agriculture credit target to Rs 16.5 lakh crore in FY22.
She asserted that the government was committed to the welfare of farmers. “The MSP regime has undergone a change to assure price that is at least 1.5 times the cost of production across all commodities,” she said.