Going to the Roots – Budget 2013’s Focus on Agriculture

By Deepti KC

While going through the recent Budget 2013 session described vividly across various media sections, it would be safe in saying that it has not raised any major controversy or questions to some extent, though experts are still going through the same and are giving out their expert opinion on the same. I am writing this post to highlight what are the facets of this Budget with respect to agriculture.
Image Courtesy: Deepti Kc, Location: Chattisgarh
Like most countries in the developing world, experts and economists may be of the opinion of that an economy must transition from being an agriculture driven one to that of a manufacturing driven one. I believe India is a far way from saying that we have reached such a stage. We still have to pay undivided attention to the sector as 580 million Indians still depend on agriculture. Some of the key points of the recent Budget with respect to agriculture are as follows:-
  • Allocation of Rs27,049 crore to the Ministry of Agriculture, an increase of 22 percent over the revised estimates of the current year. Of which, Rs 3,415 crore has been earmarked for agriculture research
  • Agricultural credit has been enhanced to 7 lakh crore rupees
  • Rs 150 crore will be invested in Farmer Producer Organizations so as to assist small and marginal farmers
  • Rs 1,000 crore to be allocated for farmers in East India – adoption of hybrid rice varieties
  • Setting up of Indian Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology at Ranchi, Jharkhand
  • Investments of Rs 9,954 crore in the Rashtriya Krishi Vikar Yojna and Rs 2,250 crore in the National Food Security Mission
  • The original states of the Green Revolution are currently facing a problem stemming from over-exploitation of water resources. Given that certain areas of the country are experiencing drought, the Government is planning on better watershed management. The allocation for an integrated watershed programme has been raised from an existing Rs 3,050 crore to Rs Rs 5,387 crore
  • The National Livestock Mission will be launched in 2013-14 to attract investment and to enhance productivity taking into account local agro-climatic conditions. Rs 307 crore will be provided for this
  • Pilot programmes on Nutri-Farms will be conducted to introduce new crop varieties. A sum of Rs 200 crore has been allocated for this agri-businesses and farmers work together and also help in curbing problems rising from malnutrition
It sure does look positive from the offset and very optimistic. States like Assam, Bihar, Chattisgarh and West  Bengal have increased their contribution to rice production. The recent article on how a Bihar farmer produced a yield of 22.4 tonnes of rice from a hectare has caught global attention for sure. However, there are still claims on whether its veracity holds true or not. I have posted two links about this story below: does make interesting reading. One could be pessimistic looking at the Government’s track record with respect to implementing such grand schemes. However, I wish for the sake of the Indian farmers, that these prgrammes actually deliver what they have set to deliver. Their well-being is important and we must look at the same with utmost importance.