1. Agriculture World

Maharashtra Additional Budget Focuses on Farmers, Irrigation Sector

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

Keeping in view the farming sectors distress in Maharashtra since 2016 and the pitched battles faced by CM Fadnavis government over farm loan waiver, Finance Minister said that  Rs. 24,102 crore has been sanctioned to around 50.27 lakh account holders under the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari SanmanYojana - farm loan waiver scheme.

Government is going to take a decision shortly to give the benefit of this scheme to those farmers who are ineligible for technical or other reasons. The Government is committed to making farmers debt-free and in any case, there will not be any shortage of funds for this scheme till the last eligible farmer becomes debt-free, he said.

The Budget, which has been presented 3 months before State Assembly elections, has focused on agriculture, irrigation, and infrastructure.

Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar presented the additional Budget for 2019-20 with a pro-farmer tilt. The State government has decided to expand the scope of existing accident insurance to cover about 5.5 crore family members of farmers in the State.

This is the last Budget of the Devendra Fadnavis government before the Maharashtra Assembly elections.

Finance Minister provided a budgetary outlay of Rs. 210 crore, which takes care of the premium cost of the insurance scheme in the new avatar. The existing insurance scheme named after late Gopinathji Munde gives insurance cover of up to Rs. 2 lakh to farmers whose names are in the 7/12 revenue land record extract. The premium for the scheme is paid by the State government.

Mungantiwar in his Budget speech also announced that in order to give farmers direct access to markets for their agricultural produce and make available all necessary infrastructure facilities in the value chain, the State of Maharashtra Agribusiness and Rural Transformation (SMART) will be implemented with the help of World Bank.

The project aims to create a value chain for various crops by directly connecting farmers’ companies to the purchasing companies. This project will approximately cost Rs. 2,220 crore.

It proposes Rs. 12,000 crore for the irrigation sector, Rs. 350 crore for micro-irrigation and Rs. 600 crore for research & development by 4 agricultural universities.

Mungantiwar also announced that the State government’s debt has reached Rs. 4,14,411 crore, but given the size of the state's economy, the debt could be serviced.

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