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Ministry of Agriculture Surrenders Over One Lakh Crore of Budget in Last 5 Years

The Ministry of Agriculture surrendered over Rs 1 lakh crore unutilised funds in the last five years. The Standing Committee has raised concerns and urged the government to avoid the practice of fund surrender.

KJ Staff
The report titled Accounts at a Glance for the Year 2022-2023  discloses a substantial rise in surrendered funds by the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (Picture Courtesy: Pexels)
The report titled Accounts at a Glance for the Year 2022-2023 discloses a substantial rise in surrendered funds by the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (Picture Courtesy: Pexels)

A recent report from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare titled “Accounts at a Glance for the Year 2022-2023 has revealed a concerning trend of underutilisation, as the ministry surrendered more than Rs 1 lakh crore from its allocated budget over the past five years. The report indicates a significant increase in surrendered funds during the financial year 2022-2023, with the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare relinquishing Rs 21,005.13 crore.

This revelation has sparked concerns and scrutiny from the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, and Food Processing, urging the government to address and rectify this practice.

Surge in Surrendered Funds

The report discloses a rise in surrendered funds by the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, reaching Rs 21,005.13 crore in the fiscal year 2022-2023, four times more than the previous year's figure of Rs 5,152.6 crore.

The trend of fund surrender is not new, with the department surrendering Rs 23,824.53 crore in 2020-21, Rs 34,517.7 crore in 2019-20, and Rs 21,043.75 crore in 2018-19. The issue extends to the Department of Agricultural Research and Education, which surrendered Rs 9 lakh in 2022-23.

Budget Expansion and PM Kisan Samman Nidhi

The combined budget of the two departments under the Ministry of Agriculture witnessed substantial growth, reaching Rs 1.32 lakh crore in 2022-23 from Rs 54,000 crore in 2018-19. The launch of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi contributed to this increase, but the ministry's total allocation reduced marginally to Rs 1.25 lakh crore in 2023-24.

Under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, income support of Rs 6000 per year is given to all eligible farmer families across the country in three equal installments of Rs 2,000 each.

Standing Committee's Concerns

The Standing Committee on Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, and Food Processing expressed its apprehensions in the Demand for Grants (2023-24) report. The committee, led by P C Gaddigoudar, urged the government to refrain from the "practice" of fund surrender, emphasising its impact on components such as North Eastern States, Schedule Caste Sub-Plan, and Tribal Area Sub-Plan.

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