Budget 2020: The Union Budget that is set to be presented soon by the finance minister will need to have a few measures that would give a fillip to the agriculture sector and, also, influence the amount of money in the hands of those in the sector, especially farmers. Industry insiders are of the opinion that for agriculture, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman must take steps to take advantage of 92 per cent digitization of land records. They want PM Kisan Samman Nidhi reaching out to 16 million dairy farmers and all other farmer-friendly schemes should be reaching to the entire sector including small and marginal farmers.
Speaking on the steps required for giving a fillip to the agriculture sector, Dr. Soumya Kanti Ghosh, Group Chief Economic Adviser at SBI said, “For Agriculture, the Government must take advantage of 92 per cent digitization of land records and ensure that the PM KISAN scheme reaches all the 14.6 crore farmers. Simultaneously, the Government could provide a glass of milk in mid-day meal income for 100 million children by engaging 16 million dairy farmers with additional income and ensure a Poushtik Bharat. Finally, the Government must ensure those tenant farmers are registered with a tenancy certificate so that they can also access the formal sources of money.”
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Batting for an agriculture-friendly budget, Ravindra Agrawal, MD & Founder, KisanKraft Limited said, “Budget 2020 should have proactive steps to improve the viability of small farmers, including animal-based farmers e.g. poultry and fisheries. Some of the measures that need to be taken are increasing the budget for building and improving the canals, setting up weather radars in every taluk. Legislation to encourage new people to take up farming needs to be brought in, with a focus on simplification of land among willing parties, and expedited settlements of litigations post-transaction. The Budget must address issues of minimum support price, APMC tax on farm produce, and the restriction on the movement of farm produce across various jurisdictions.”
Agrawal said, “Budget 2020 should address long pending issues of GST pertaining to the agriculture sector and that GST on all inputs and machinery for the agriculture sector must be in the lowest band of 5 per cent. As of now, the branded seeds are taxed and unbranded seeds are exempt, thus encouraging farmers to buy unbranded seeds with unproven quality. Farm machinery businesses have to get impaneled by several departments in each state with separate EMD which adds up to crores of rupees across the country, thereby increasing the cost of doing business. Not only the transfer of subsidies should be done through DBT, but all machinery that has been tested by FMTTI should also be automatically approved for subsidies across the country.”