Haryana budget addresses agrarian distress
The highlight of the tax-free budget was farming sector with notable spending of Rs 4,098 crore earmarked for agriculture and allied activities in 2018-19.india Updated: Mar 09, 2018 20:09 IST
During his 150-minute reply to the debate on the governor’s address in Haryana Vidhan Sabha, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar had referred to the farmers as “soft targets” being “exploited” by the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Congress.
His contention was that out of power INLD and Congress leaders were instigating the pliable peasantry for political survival.
By devoting half of his speech on farming sector, Khattar’s worry about growing unrest among the farmers, the key constituency of the INLD and Congress, became amply clear. And to halt this unrest in the farming community, finance minister Capt Abhimanyu on Friday announced 51% hike in the outlay for agriculture as part of “well thought-out strategy” of the BJP government.
The highlight of the tax-free budget was farming sector with notable spending of Rs 4,098 crore earmarked for agriculture and allied activities in 2018-19, up from last year’s Rs 2,710 crore — an increase of 51.22%.
The budget also announced 20% increase in outlay for irrigation and water resources and 25% hike in rural development outlay.
Clearly, by reaching out to farmers and the rural sector, this budget is an attempt of the Khattar government to prepare ground for 2019 parliamentary elections that will be followed by assembly polls due in October 2019. The budget is replete with poll-push.
“We wish to transform the farm sector completely in the state in coming years, the way farming is done,” Capt Abhimanyu said. “This is a historic increase in the outlay for agriculture and allied activities to give special boost to agriculture and rural development.”
DOUBLING FARMERS’ INCOME
The budget document refers to doubling the farmers’ income by 2022. Diversification of agriculture to horticulture, animal husbandry, dairying, fisheries etc are among the steps the government has proposed to increase farmers’ income.
Under the ‘horticulture vision’, the government has set the target to double the area under horticulture from the present 7.5% to 15%.
To achieve this goal, the government has declared 340 ‘Bagwani villages’ in 140 crop clusters and prepared a crop cluster development programme for crop diversification.
“To give boost to horticulture, Centres of excellence are being set up in each district,” the FM said. Already, first centre of its kind in India on bee-keeping was established in Kurukshetra in 2017 with the help of Israel. Three centres of excellence are coming up in Palwal, Jhajjar and Narnaul.
Animal husbandry and dairying is another priority sector government has identified.
For further development of Murrah breed buffalo, the budget proposes to establish Murrah Reserch and Skill Development in Narnaund in Hisar in 208-19. This centre will train women, unemployed youth and farmers for self-employment.
A veterinary livestock development diploma college under Hisar based veterinary university will be set up at Lakhnaur Sahib, Ambala.
Of the total Rs 4,098 crore, agriculture will get Rs 1,839 crore, animal husbandry Rs 913, horticulture Rs 835, forests Rs 427 crore and fisheries Rs 84 crore.
Also, the government plans to spend Rs 550 crore in next two years on rehabilitation of about 125 channels.
“Out of total 1,350 canal tails, 1343 tails have been fully fed,” Capt Abhimanyu said, referring to “sabka saath, sabka vikas” catch phrase of the state government.