Amid tight fiscal situation, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has said he does not expect big freebies like cheap crop loans in the forthcoming Budget for 2013-14 which is likely to be “a tight budget”.
“This budget will be a tight budget. I am little worried,” Pawar said in an interview.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram in February-end will present UPA government’s last full budget before general elections. The budget will be presented in the backdrop of slowing economic growth, rising subsidies, run-away fiscal deficit and moderation in revenues.
Pawar also said that he does not expect further reduction in interest rate on crop loans on those farmers who pay in time. At present, the interest rate on farm loan is 4 per cent for timely repayers.
However, Pawar wished the Finance Minister gave more funds for irrigation projects in the budget keeping in view the country’s half of the farm land is not irrigated.
“My wish in fact is that the Finance Minister should provide maximum money for irrigation projects. We expect more financial support for various schemes implemented by various ministries for water conservation like drip irrigation,” he said.
“There is too much wastage of water and we have to utilise water properly. This area should be given priority in the budget,” he stressed.
When asked about government’s new initiatives to make country self-sufficient in pulses and oilseeds, Pawar said, “We are in the process of budget preparation. Many things will be part of FM’s budget speech. I won’t be in a position to tell about new schemes.”