1. The 2017 Union Budget, has broadly focused on 10 themes — the farming sector, the rural population, the youth, the poor and underprivileged health care, infrastructure, the financial sector for stronger institutions, speedy accountability, public services, prudent fiscal management and tax administration for the honest.
  2. Every Part would be discussed in detail starting from Agriculture, the backbone of Indian Economy.

Introduction

agriculture

  1. Agriculture and allied sectors like forestry and fisheries accounts for 17 % of the GDP (gross domestic product) and supports about 50% of the workforce.
  2. Indian fisheries and aquaculture contributes to more than 6% of the global fish production, more than 1% of the GDP, more than 5% of the agriculture GDP and providing employment to 14 million people.
  3. Indian agriculture faces the problem of low productivity, poor income of farmers, soil degradation, land fragmentation, lack of credit and banking facilities, low irrigation facilities and dependence on monsoon.
  4. The budget aims to address these problems.

Agriculture

  1. The finance minister has reiterated that the government is committed to doubling of farm incomes within five years. It is ambitious, but the farm incomes are already low. Doubling them would not make much impact on the lives of farmers.
  2. In allocation of funds, three things are given prime importance : 1. Irrigation, 2. Interest subvention on credit  3. Insurance premium subsidy.
  3. The total funds from the Centre for irrigation would amount to more than Rs 32,000 crore. Interest subvention on credit also amounts to Rs 15,000 crore; and, insurance premium subsidy is budgeted at Rs 9,000 crore.
  4. Allocation on Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana remains at Rs 19,000 crore, as was the last year.
  5. Rural roads are key for economic emancipation of rural areas. More than the outlays, the focus must be on the outcomes.
  6. The traditional subsidy on fertilisers, despite its various inefficiencies, also remains at roughly Rs 70,000 crore, same as last year. The fertiliser subsidy, not just impacts the pocket of the government, but also the soil quality, environment and the public health as well.
  7. The amount going for research and education of agriculture is meagre Rs 6,800 crore. This is way below 1% of agri-GDP that needs to be allocated to revitalise our agriculture with new seeds, and innovations.
  8. In comparison, just one seed company (Monsanto) spends almost 70% more re sources for research and development of seeds and chemicals than the entire ICAR system in India!

lalit-tyagi-sm-the-scales

  1. In comparison to an allocation for schemes under green revolution (Rs 13,741 crore) and White Revolution (Rs 1,634 crore) in the budget, blue revolution has been allocated with only Rs 401 crore.
  2. Fishing community in not happy with the allocation which they term as meagre.
  3. The government however is pushing for a Rainbow revolution so that multiple sectors within the primary sector develop.
  4. A dedicated micro irrigation fund will be set up for NABARD with Rs 5,000 crore initial corpus.
  5. People are complaining that Rs 5,000 crore for micro irrigation is not even enough for a dry land taluk, when the cost of digging just one borewell is around Rs 4 to Rs 5 lakh. This may be less, but the focus on micro irrigation is itself a welcome task. Apart from saving water, the micro irrigation would help in soil conservation, electricity savings, and productivity would increase. The effort to double farmers income would get an additional boost.
  6. A sum of Rs. 10 lakh crore is allocated as credit to farmers, with 60 days interest waiver.
  7. The allocation make no purpose when the banks are either not available or they are not giving adequate and timely credit to the farmers.
  8. Government will set up mini labs in Krishi Vigyan Kendras for soil testing. This would help farmers to check the quality of their soil and help them to fix the nutrient issues before the sowing. Further, it would also reduce mindless use of nitrogenous fertilizers. Saving both farmers pocket and soil.
  9. Irrigation corpus increased from Rs 20,000 crore to Rs 40,000 crore. It is needed to reduce dependence on monsoon.

dairy

  1. Dairy processing infrastructure fund will be initially created with a corpus of Rs. 2000 crore. India is one of the largest milk producer country, but still the availability is not to everyone who needs it. Dairy processing infrastructure aims, not just to increase production and export, but also check wastages.
  2. A model law on contract farming will be prepared and shared with the States. It is important so that farmers get best of the inputs, get best of the prices on produce, fallow and unused land can be used and farm production can be increased.
  3. The Agriculture and related activities as a whole have been adversely affected by demonetization, however the Budget provision made for the upcoming financial year have tried to address the issues regarding the demand, sowing, credit and others.