Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will get down to deliver his fifth annual Budget 2018-19 tomorrow, and, all eyes will be on his announcements for the farm sector, which is going through a downturn in the last few years.
The sector is the spine of the Indian economy that provides employment to half of the total workforce in India and contributes a major chunk to the country's GDP. This year's budget can be a landmark in terms of agrarian policies and rural initiatives.
The agriculture sector is likely to get top priority in the Budget. Slowing agri-GDP growth has shaken the roots of the rural economy. For the full year for FY18, CSO estimates agri-GDP growth at 2.1 percent, which is less than half of 4.9 percent registered for FY17.
In the Budget 2018, the FM Jaitley is expected to increase the total allocation to the farm sector significantly.
Here is the list of expectation for agriculture sector:
1. Establish fund to guarantee credit to encourage investment in agriculture sector
2. Allocate more funds for crop insurance schemes
3. Increase spending for dams and canals, micro-irrigation systems
4. Provide subsidies for building cold storage to avoid wastage of perishable crops
5. Reduce fertiliser subsidies
In FY18, the total allocation for the Agriculture ministry was Rs 51,026 crore — an increase of 6 percent from the revised estimates of FY17. But given the thrust to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (allocation last year – Rs 7,377 crore), the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (Rs 9,000 crore), the electronic National Agriculture Market and others, there is likely to a bump-up in allocation this year.