Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said farmers and villages are at the "heart of this year's budget" as he lauded Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s “proactive” budget for 2021, saying it would “focus on helping farmers increase their income”.
The prime minister’s statement comes amid a raging debate over farmers’ income which has seen protests across states for over two months. Worried about a gradual phasing out of Minimum Support Prices offered by the government has triggered demonstrations after three farm laws were passed in parliament in September.
Modi said the Budget has been presented in extraordinary circumstances and has a sense of reality as well as a confidence of development in it. It has the vision of ‘Aatmanirbharta' and addresses all sections of the society, he asserted. "We have taken the approach of widening new opportunities for growth, creation of new opportunities for our youth, giving a new dimension to human resources, develop new sectors for infrastructure development, and moving towards technology and bringing new reforms in this Budget," he said.
“Many experts were thinking that in this budget, government will put burden on common people but we have given a proactive budget,” PM Modi said.
He added, “This budget aims to empower Farmers, it will be easier for farmers to get more agriculture loans and to integrate APMCs in the country. All these decisions shows that village and farmers are in heart of this budget.”
The government, which has been focusing on hiking the MSP to address the issue, on Monday said the agricultural credit target for this year has been set at 16.5 lakh crore. Besides 1,000 more agricultural mandis – another area of concern for farmers – will be integrated into the government's national digital agricultural trading platform "eNAM".
Sitharaman, while presenting the budget, said the MSP regime had gone through "sea change" to assure prices at least 1.5 times the production cost. There has also been a sharp increase in procurement of foodgrain and payment to farmers, the Finance Minister said, adding, "The government is committed to the welfare of farmers."AL