Agriculture Current Affair 2 February 2021

A cautious approach in agri sector

The Budget, which was announced on Monday in the background of prolonged farmers’ protest, was expected to roll out doles in the form of farm loan waiver, increase in cash under PM-KISAN scheme for farmers and off clarifications on the MSP policy.

However, it turned a damp squib for many who were eyeing with expectations. Having spent a significantly higher amount on food and fertiliser subsidy in 2020-21 to support the farm sector amidst the pandemic, the Finance Minister took a cautious stand and limited spending across different heads in agriculture for 2021-22. The total spending on MSP support and procurement was an astronomical ₹4.22-lakh crore in 2020-21, up from ₹1.08-lakh crore in 2019-20. The amount of fertiliser subsidy provided for in 2020-21 was ₹71,309 crore, but the actual spending was ₹1.33-lakh crore.

APMCs welcome agri infra fund announcement

Making available the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) for augmenting the APMCs infrastructure facilities in the Budget is being seen an long overdue reform by all the agricultural market participants.

Director of Vashi APMC, Sanjay Pansare, said that the new and advance infrastructure is the need of the hour as most of the infrastructure at APMCs is at least 30 years old. A dedicated fund will help with faster creation of infrastructure at the APMCs.

Enhanced MIF to support irrigation coverage for 1 crore ha

Finance Minister’s announcement on augmenting the micro irrigation fund has brightened the prospects for extended irrigation coverage across one crore hectares in the country.

In her Budget speech, the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said, “The Micro Irrigation Fund, with a corpus of ₹5,000 crore has been created under NABARD, I propose to double it by augmenting it by another ₹5,000 crore.”

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