Union Budget presented, futuristic and visionary for the farmers: Harsimrat
Chandigarh – The Union Minister for Food Processing Ms Harsimrat Kaur Badal today described the Union Budget presented today as ” daring, futuristic and visionary for the farmers of the country in general and for the enterprising Punjab farmers in particular. ” This is an extraordinary budget because it takes to a new level the government’s commitments to raising the incomes and living standards of farmers.The Government will keep the MSP of unannounced Kharif crops at least 1.50 times of their production costs She said that at present, far from getting 150% of their costs, the farmers often have to sell their produce at a loss. Ms Badal said that the Niti Ayog will henceforth devise a mechanism to provide adequate price to farmers in consultation between the centre and the state governments The second major and equally futuristic approach is the application of new ideas to improve the income avenues for farmers with value additions through food processing. The budget regards agriculture as an “enterprise”, with focus on increasing the farmers’ incomes with value additions through food processing.”In a statement here, Ms Badal expressed her “gratitude on behalf of the farmers to the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitely for ‘their profound concern for farmers by focusing on ways to substantially increase their incomes through value additions. This is reflected in the exponential 100% increase the budget for food processing from Rs 715 in 2017-18 to Rs 1400 crores.This is aimed at freeing the farmers from the slavery of selling their products merely as raw-produce and focusing on value addition through food processing. For this, I cannot thank the PM and FM enough on behalf of the brave and patriotic farmers,” said the Union Minister.She said that another major step forward in this direction is the creation of Specialised Agro Processing Financial Institution in the Food Processing sector. The government’s commitment to diversifying agriculture can also be seen in a bold commitment of Rs 10,000 crore for Fisheries and aquaculture and Rs 1200 core for bamboo farming, the latter also contributing to forestation. Similarly, the allocation of Rs 500 crore for the promotion of Potato, Onion and Tomato crops was another step in that direction. She also thanked the FM for the decision to upgrade 22000 Rural Haats and 585 Mandies through infrastructure up-gradation. Ms Badal welcomed the decision for 100% exemption in income tax for FPOs in Food Processing for a period of 5 years.
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