WITH AN eye on the upcoming Vidhan Sabha elections, the Maharashtra Budget made a total allocation of Rs 31,000 crore, an increase of Rs 6,000 crore from last year, for two crucial sectors — agriculture and irrigation — to cover new schemes as well as old, some of which have been expanded to include those left out earlier.
While Rs 12,597.13 crore was earmarked for water resources ministry (irrigation projects), agriculture and allied sectors got Rs 18,403 crore in the 2019-2020 Budget unveiled on Tuesday. Among the new schemes is Rs 5 per litre subsidy to milk farmers, while accidental death insurance for farmers has been expanded to include family members, and the crop loan waiver scheme will now cover consumption loans for tribal communities.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “Our emphasis on agriculture and irrigation is a pledge to realise the double production and income of farmers. The socio-economic empowerment of individual farmers, especially small and marginal, is essential for overall growth of the state.”
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana (CSMSSY) loan waiver scheme launched in 2017 has been expanded to include khavti karz, a loan given to small and poor farmers in backward and tribal belts and is specifically meant for their food needs.
“Under CSMSSY, Rs 24,102 crore has been sanctioned to 50.27 lakh account holders. With a view to give benefit of this scheme to more beneficiaries, the scope of this scheme has been expanded and khavti loan has been included in it. The government is going to take a decision shortly to give benefit of this scheme to those farmers who have become ineligible for technical or other reasons,” said state Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, indicating that there will be further inclusions in the scheme.
In a huge rural outreach plan, the government has also allocated Rs 210 crore to expand the scope of insurance cover for accidental death of farmers by extending the cover to family members as well, thus benefiting 5.5 crore people.
In case of accidental death of a farmer, compensation to the limit of Rs 2 lakh is given by the insurance company appointed by the government under the scheme called Gopinath Munde Shetkari Apghat Vima Yojana. At present, the insurance premium to approximately 1.37 crore farmers, whose names appear on 7/12 extract, is being paid by the government to the insurance companies.
To tackle the recurring drought in the state, the budget has stressed the “More crop per drop” policy of the government to promote micro-irrigation and agriculture practices along with research, with an allocation of Rs 350 crore. The government has also asked agricultural universities to undertake research on increasing the crop production with less use of water. An allocation of Rs 600 crore has been promised to agricultural universities in the next three years at the rate of Rs 150 crore for each university for research and infrastructure. An outlay of Rs 200 crore has been sanctioned in the year 2019-20.
Apart from this, a new scheme called Atal Arthasahay Yojana, was announced with an outlay of Rs 500 cr for innovative agro-based projects by various cooperative institutions.
The budget provided Rs 390 crore for the Bhavantar Yojana that aims at helping farmers bridge the price difference between minimum support price and market price.
Milk producing farmers in the state will get a subsidy of Rs 5 per litre. Packaged milk is excluded from this scheme. So far, 42 cooperative milk federations and private milk producers have benfitted under this scheme. Also a grant of Rs 50 per kg has been given to milk federations and private milk processing industries to encourage the export of milk powder. Under this scheme, an amount of Rs 474. 52 crore has been distributed.
An allocation of Rs 100 crore has been provided for group farming. Under this scheme, a grant up to Rs 1 crore or 60 per cent of the project cost is made available. Till now, 205 groups have been formed. The scheme was begun in view of shrinking land holdings of individual farmers.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines