As Finance Minster Nirmala Sitharaman presents her first Union Budget for the financial year 2019-2020, all eyes are set to know how the Modi government in its second term will deal with the rural economy that is in turmoil since few years. Additionally the country saw the lowest rainfall ahead of the monsoon in more than 6 decades, the country witnessed the farmers protest right from Tamil Nadu to Punjab and also have recorded almost 16,000 farmer suicides.
The Budget not only needs to increase the income of the farmers but also need to sketch a blueprint to tackle with the climate change that results in the loss of farm produce, eventually leading to farmer's distress. With minutes left for the the Budget speech of the Finance Minister Sitharaman, here is what the farming sector expects from the Union Budget 2019.
With the current gross value added in agriculture decelerating to a 2.9% in 2018-19, will the Budget concentrate on improvement of crop productivity, livestock productivity, resource use efficiency, diversification towards high value crops to give the agriculture sector a thrust is the basic question asked by the experts. Economic Survey 2019 stated that The Gross Value Added (GVA) in agriculture improved from a negative 0.2 per cent in 2014-15 to 6.3 per cent in 2016-17 only to decelerate to 2.9 per cent in 2018-19. While the crops, livestock and forestry sector showed fluctuating growth rates over the period from 2014-15 to 2017-18, the fisheries sector has shown a rapid growth from 4.9 per cent in 2012-13 to 11.9 per cent in 2017-18.
The Government has set a target of doubling of farmers’ income by the year 2022. For the said purpose, the Government had constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee to examine issues relating to Doubling of Farmers’ Income (DFI) and recommend strategies. The Committee has identified seven sources of income growth viz, improvement in crop productivity; improvement in livestock productivity; resource use efficiency or savings in the cost of production; increase in the cropping intensity; diversification towards high value crops; improvement in real prices received by farmers; and shift from farm to non-farm occupations.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will held pre-budget consultation meeting with farm bodies and agricultural experts on June 11 amid delayed monsoon and drought in some states like Maharasthra. In such a scenario it will be interesting to see how the Budget incorporates the demands put forward by the bodies in form of policies.
The government just 2 days ahead of the Budget raised the MSP for all kharif crops for the 2019-20 sowing season, it can be seen as a prelude to the benefits that may come to the farmers in Budget 2019.