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Agriculture to be focus area of annual budget, says Prakash Pant

Another thrust area would be infrastructure building, for which a substantial portion of the budget would also be allocated.

dehradun Updated: Jan 13, 2018 20:15 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Uttarakhand news,Trivendra Singh Rawat,Prakash Pant
The government plans to make a sizeable budgetary allocation for agriculture and allied services because the state is known for its agri-pastoral economy.(HT FILE)

The Trivendra Singh Rawat-led BJP government will spare a substantial portion of its next annual budget for farming and allied services to check forced migration from the hills of Uttarakhand, finance minister Prakash Pant said on Saturday.

“We will spare a sizeable portion of the (2018-19) annual budget for agriculture and allied services. The step is in keeping with our party’s aim to double the income of farmers by 2022 so that forced migration from the hills can be checked,” Pant told Hindustan Times.

Another thrust area would be infrastructure building, for which a substantial portion of the budget would also be allocated. “However, the annual budget won’t have much allocation for the tertiary, or service sector. In fact, as a policy, we are discouraging that (tertiary) sector,” Pant said. “The step is being taken because all developing states focus on primary and secondary sectors, and discourage tertiary sector.”

The government plans to make a sizeable budgetary allocation for agriculture and allied services because the state is known for its agri-pastoral economy. “Horticulture is also one of the main economic activities,” Pant said, adding along with farm and horticulture sectors, budgetary allocations would be made for allied services such as animal husbandry, bee keeping and pisciculture.

“We are focusing on agriculture and allied services because more budgetary allocation will not only help boost income of farmers but will also help create employment opportunities for them.”

Pant said the budgetary allocation would be made to develop areas falling in all the 670 Nyay Panchayats as centres of excellence. “That means a portion of 10% of the total annual budget that will be allocated to the farm sector will also be utilised in developing a number of facilities for farm-related activities.”Similarly, a substantial portion of the (10%) budget would be spared for promoting the organic sector.

“Organic farming will be given a boost in all the Nyay Panchayats on the lines of Sikkim which has become India’s first organic state,” Pant said, adding that allocation of funds would be made for developing facilities for farmers to market organic products.

“I don’t think there will be a problem on that count as the areas falling in all the 670 Nyay panchayats have now been linked with a network of roads,” he said. “We will not only develop marketing facilities for farmers, but plants and seeds will also be made available to them at concessional rates.”

The minimum support price would be announced for key agricultural and horticultural crops in time. The focus of annual budget would give a massive boost to secondary sector. “That means all kinds of infrastructure—from roads to hospitals and schools and institutions will get a boost in the next fiscal.”

First Published: Jan 13, 2018 20:15 IST