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Govt Proposes 10% Hike In Farm Loan Target For FY22; Announces Agri Infra Development Cess

The government also proposed substantial investments for the development of fishing harbours, fish landing centres and promote seaweed farming.

PTI

Asserting that the government is committed towards farmers' welfare, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday proposed 10% hike in the farm loan disbursal target to Rs 16.5 lakh crore in the Budget, and introduced an agri-infra and development cess of up to 100 % to create post-harvest infrastructure for improving farmers' income.

The minister also proposed higher allocation for Rural Infrastructure Development Fund and Micro Irrigation Fund, and extended Agriculture Infrastructure Fund to APMCs for augmenting infrastructure facilities.

The government also proposed substantial investments for the development of fishing harbours, fish landing centres and promote seaweed farming.

Presenting the first digital Budget in Parliament, Sitharaman said the proposal on agriculture will further strengthen "the Sankalp of the nation first, doubling farmers' income, strong infrastructure", among others.

To provide adequate credit to our farmers, the minister said, "I have enhanced the agricultural credit target to Rs 16.5 lakh crores in FY'22. We will focus on ensuring increased credit flows to animal husbandry, dairy, and fisheries".

The farm credit target set for the next fiscal is however higher than Rs 15 lakh crore set for the current fiscal.

Stressing on the need to improve the farm infrastructure to ensure higher remuneration to farmers, the Finance Minister proposed an Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess (AIDC) in the range of 2.5 to 100% on certain commodities.

However, while applying this cess, the government has taken care not to put additional burden on consumers on most items, she noted.

Last year, the government had announced the Rs 1 lakh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund to finance projects at subsidised rates for post-harvest infrastructure facilities.

Besides the new cess, the minister said the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund would be made available to Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs) for augmenting their infrastructure facilities.

The minister also proposed enhancing the allocation to the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund from Rs 30,000 crore to Rs 40,000 crore and double the corpus of the Micro Irrigation Fund from the current Rs 5,000 crore created under the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).

To boost value addition in agriculture and allied products and their exports, the Finance Minister said the scope of 'Operation Green Scheme' that is presently applicable to tomatoes, onions, and potatoes, will be enlarged to include 22 perishable products.

On electronic National Agriculture Market (eNAM), she said around 1.68 crore farmers are registered and Rs 1.14 lakh crore of trade value has been carried out through the e-platform.

"Keeping in view the transparency and competitiveness that e-NAM has brought into the agricultural market, 1,000 more mandis will be integrated with e-NAM," she said.

To boost the fishery sector, the minister proposed substantial investments in the development of modern fishing harbours and fish landing centres.

PTI

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