Agriculture in the Interim Budget 2019-20: Comments by Prof M S Swaminathan

Chennai, February 1, 2019: The interim budget obviously cannot introduce new schemes. Therefore the Finance Minister’s statement largely summed up all the steps taken during the last four years to help farmers and farming. Acknowledging the agrarian crisis, the Finance Minister proposed a direct income support to farmers. This is a good step.
Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog is to be set up for the upgradation of cow resources. Also, he laid emphasis on attending to farm animals and fisheries. For accelerated fisheries development the budget has provided for the creation of a Department of Fisheries.
Several reforms were also announced with reference to agriculture credit and kisan credit cards. Additional support was promised for women farmers. A scheme called PM Kisan Samman Nidhi under which farmers owning up to two hectares will get Rs 6,000 per year will be introduced. The money will be transferred directly to accounts in three tranches.
I am happy that emphasis has been laid on the effective implementation of the ongoing schemes and for the provision of direct income support to farmers which will enable them to purchase the inputs needed for a technological upgrading of farm operation.

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