Modi Govt Likely to Replace Subsidies With Cash for Farmers Months Before 2019 Polls
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government is planning to combine all farm subsidies, including fertilizer costs, and instead pay farmers cash.
Representative image (Reuters)
New Delhi: With agrarian crisis enveloping almost all of India, the Centre is considering a plan to transfer cash to farmers to ease their financial burden instead of offering subsidies.
According to a report in Bloomberg, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is planning to combine all farm subsidies, including fertilizer costs, and instead pay farmers cash.
The additional cost is expected to be limited to Rs 700 billion annually after a full roll-out of the program, Bloomberg stated quoted their sources. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had budgeted Rs 701 billion for farm subsidies in the year ending March 31.
It will be interesting to note that the Centre has already exceeded the annual budget deficit target and has little room for spending in the current year, having forgone some tax revenue on goods and services following the three election defeats in the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
The BJP, which is seeking a second term, has to win over discontented farmers before the election. They have been hit by falling crop prices and rising input costs, prompting thousands of them to protest in the street to seek debt waivers.
At the same time, the opposition Congress has raised pressure on the government to act after it waived off farm loans following victories against the BJP in three states last month.
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