Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) economic wing has expressed serious concern over declining agricultural growth and steep cut in budgetary allocation to farm and allied sector.
The RSS affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has urged the government to take measures in the Union Budget 2017-18 to boost rural economy.
“Allocation to agricultural sector has gone down drastically over the years. In the past, it used to be almost one-fourth of the total budget size, but now it has come down to meager 1 to 1.25% of the total budget. Special attention is needed for this sector. Spending on seeds development and agriculture research need to be increased,” national co-convener, SJM, Ashwani Mahajan told Firstpost.
SJM along with the labour wing of the Sangh, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh had met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to put forth their concerns and suggestions, and demanded a slew of measures in farm, rural and public healthcare sectors in the upcoming Budget 2017.
Areas of concern and demands
Agriculture and allied sector:
1) Allocation to be increased.
2) Budget provisioning to encourage research and development (R&D) on seeds and
3) Ensure better Minimum Support Price (MSP) for pulses and oilseeds.
Creation of cold chain and warehouses
“During UPA regime, allocations in agriculture, irrigation and rural roads declined. The need is to encourage R&D, so that our scientists can perform better and we don’t have to depend on MNCs. If the US has given up on globalization, why can’t we have our indigenous (Swadeshi) products?” questioned Mahajan.
“The bumper Kharif production proves that the government has been doing a good job in providing remunerative price to farmers. Better MSP for pulses and oilseeds must be ensured in the budget. An old Planning Commission report had mentioned that Rs 7687 crore would be needed to create a network of cold storages and warehouses. By now this figure may go up to Rs 15,000 crore. For the welfare of the farmers, the government should provide fund for this segment,” he added.
1) Government should provide medical care and not just medical cover and create mechanism for supply of essential drugs at a lower price to poor.
2) Selling or disinvestment of loss-making pharmaceutical companies under public sector undertaking (PSU) needs to be discouraged. Instead of following Niti Aayog’s recommendation on dismantling of price control mechanism of essential drugs, the government should make provisioning in budget towards production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API).
“More allocation should be made on providing medical care instead of medical cover through insurance. In API, China is a big issue as we’re dependent on it. If due to any reason, the trade relation with China sours, our health security will get jeopardized. For long-term interest of our country, Niti Aayog’s recommendation is impractical and government should provide an alternative,” asserted Mahajan.
1) Job creation for the masses.
2) Tax incentive to units in the small scale sector creating jobs.
“Budget should provide some incentive to those units in small scale sector creating jobs. In the last budget, it was proposed but nothing happened,” he said.
Budget should lay thrust on capacity building.
“If India wants to be world leader in solar power, we have to give push to capacity building. Lots of equipment are imported and we still have to depend on China. Innovation needed in manufacturing sector. Anti-dumping duty has to be imposed on imports but simultaneously we need to build our capacity”.
“Though long-term effect of demonetization is good, budget should provide relief to sectors that have faced short-term effects of demonetization like employment, small traders, etc,” added Mahajan.
Updated Date: Feb 01, 2017 09:34 AM