02 August, 2021

Sow No Hope

Budget 2021 reinforces ­farmers’ fears that corporate India ­matters more than them

Inside an FCI godown
Photograph by Nirala Tripathi
Sow No Hope

Agriculture and allied activities, which clocked a growth of 3.4 per cent at constant prices during 2020-21 (first advance estimate) according to the Economic Survey, did not get due attention in the Union budget announced by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Despite being seen as a growth driver at a time when manufacturing and services are still struggling to regain their momentum, this sector seems to be lower down on the government’s priority list. Not just has the total farm sector allocation fallen from 5.1 per cent to 4.3 per cent—in absolute terms, from Rs 1.54 lakh crore to Rs 1.48 lakh crore—but there is also a lack of adequate focus on ­improving productivity and ensuring better incomes for farmers.

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“Agriculture spending in 2020-21 is down due to lower spending on the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi (income support) scheme. And the agriculture budget for 2021-22 is similar to this fiscal...

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