The proposed 16-point action plan to boost agriculture and farmer welfare presented in the Union Budget proposals 2020-21 on Saturday has evoked a mixed response from industry players and farmer outfits.
Expressing disappointment, edible oilseed industry body Solvent Extractors’ Association of India said they expected at least this year the Union Finance Minister will come out with a package of incentives for higher production and productivity of oilseeds to reduce our dependence on import of edible oils.
“The expectation of the industry was higher. We were expecting that the Finance Minister will also announce creation of an “Oilseed Development Fund”. It is disappointing that the above did not reflect in the Budget,” said Atul Chaturvedi, Executive Direstor, SEA.
Terming the Budget as anti-farmer and pro-corporates, the farmer body All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) said a nationwide protest would be held on February 13 against the pro-corporate proposals and failure to address the problems of rising peasant debts, cost of inputs and failure to secure profitable sale of crops.
“It was expected that budgetary support will be given to ensure remunerative MSP of at least 50% profit margin over the comprehensive cost of production C2 and PM-AASHA scheme will be furthered. There should have been measures for relief from debts, for compensation for crop loss, protection from stray animals etc. But these have not been touched,”, it said.
The government has budgeted ₹2.83 lakh croresfor agriculture and rural development, which is an increase of only ₹15,000 crore, or 5.6% over ₹2.68 lakh crores budgeted last year. This is less than the rate of inflation, it added.
Vijay Kumar, MD & CEO of the National Commodity Derivatives Exchange, said the village storage scheme by Self-Help Groups (SHGs) shall play a crucial role in farm level warehousing and will help farmers in efficient post-harvest management. “The Exchange is pleased to note that the financing on Negotiable Warehousing Receipts (e-NWR) has crossed more than ₹6,0,00 crore and it will be integrated with National Agriculture Market (e-NAM). The announcements to provide fund allocation of ₹2.83 lakh crore to agriculture, irrigation and rural development will provide impetus in re-energising the sector,” he said in a statement.
The Tobacco Institute of India said the increase in the National Calamity Contingent Duty (NCCD) and the resulting escalation in cigarette taxation leading to higher tax arbitrage will serve as a huge incentive to illegal cigarette trade operators, who target India as a preferred destination for smuggled cigarettes.