Finance Minister P Chidambaram today in his Budget speech of 2013-14 gave a 22 percent hike at Rs 27,049 crore in budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector in the country. Out of the outlay, got Rs 3,415 crore has been earmarked for agriculture research.
"I propose to allocate Rs 27,049 crore to the Ministry of Agriculture, an increase of 22 percent over the revised estimates of the current year. Of this, agricultural research will be provided Rs 3,415 crore," Chidambaram said in his Budget speech.
"The average annual growth rate of agriculture and allied sector during the 11th Plan was 3.6 percent as against 2.5 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively, in the 9th and 10th Plans. In 2012-13, total foodgrain production will be over 250 million tonnes.... Agricultural exports from April to December, 2012 have crossed Rs 138,403 crore," the minister said.
The agricultural credit was enhanced to Rs 700,000 crore.
Focusing on the ongoing Green Revolution in eastern India, Chidambaram said the Centre would continue to support the programme.
"Bringing the green revolution to eastern India has been a remarkable success. Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal have increased their contribution to rice production. I propose to continue to support the eastern Indian states with an allocation of Rs 1,000 crore in 2013-14," the minister said.
He also said that the original Green Revolution states are facing problems due to over-exploitation of water resources.
Linking high investment in agriculture to food security, the finance minister also increased budgetary allocations for Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and National Food Security Mission.
"The Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana is intended to mobilise higher investment in agriculture and the National Food Security Mission is intended to bridge yield gaps. I propose to provide Rs 9,954 crore and Rs 2,250 crore, respectively, for these two programmes," Chidambaram said.
Given the drought situation prevailing in certain parts of the country, the finance minister also laid importance on watershed management.
"Small and marginal farmers are vulnerable everywhere, and especially so in drought prone and ecologically-stressed regions. Watershed management is crucial to improve productivity of land and water use. I propose to increase the allocation for the integrated watershed programme from Rs 3,050 crore in 2012-13 to Rs 5,387 crore," he said.
Budgetary allocations were also made to a pilot programme on Nutri-Farms for introducing new crop varieties.
"I propose to provide a sum of upto Rs 200 crore to start the pilots. Ministry of Agriculture will formulate a scheme and I hope that agri businesses and farmers will come together to start a sufficient number of pilots in the districts most affected by malnutrition," the minister said.
Coconut cultivation in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Kerala also got a boost from the Budget.
"A pilot scheme to replant and rejuvenate coconut gardens that was implemented in some districts of Kerala and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands will be extended to the entire state of Kerala, and I propose to provide an additional sum of Rs 75 crore in 2013-14," Chidambaram said.
Seeking to monetise the livestock as a avenue of revenue and employment, the Budget also had provisions to attract investments to this agriculture sub-sector.
"The National Livestock Mission will be launched in 2013-14 to attract investment and to enhance productivity taking into account local agro-climatic conditions. I propose to provide Rs 307 crore for the Mission. There will be a sub-Mission for increasing the availability of feed and fodder," the minister said.
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Updated Date: Dec 20, 2014 16:17:56 IST