Govt spent Rs57,703 crore on agriculture in 2016-17, 28% higher than allocated
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New Delhi: Not being able to spend the money allocated for agriculture was usual with past governments, but the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government not only spent but far surpassed initial budgetary allocations, agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh said on Monday at a briefing on the three years’ achievements of the Narendra Modi led government.
For instance, the minister said, in 2013-14 the agriculture ministry spent Rs25,896 crore of the allocated Rs30,224 crores (under the previous United Progressive Alliance government), but in 2016-17 the ministry spent Rs57,703 crore (revised budget), 28% higher than the Rs45,035 crore allocated in the budget.
The higher spending were spread across programmes which aimed to risk proof agriculture, provide relief to farmers for natural disasters and also aid them to produce more foodgrains, especially pulses, the minister said.
According to the ministry, the government spent a staggering Rs29,194 as disaster relief to states in its three year term (2014-15 to 2016-17), over three times the money spent in the preceding three years (Rs9,099 crore).
Higher spending on disaster relief was mostly due to consecutive years of drought in 2014 and 2015. In comparison, a normal monsoon in 2016 helped India achieve a record foodgrain production (estimated at 273.4 million tonnes in 2016-17) and a redound in agriculture sector growth rate to 4.4%, Radha Mohan Singh said.
Among the other initiatives highlighted by the minister were a new crop insurance scheme which helped enrol more non-loanee farmers (as it is mandatory for farmers to have their crop insured if they avail formal loans), and market reforms like initiation of online trading which helped farmers get better price for their harvest, among others.
According to the agriculture ministry, till 15 May, about 8.4 million tonnes of produce has been traded under the electronic National Agriculture Market or eNAM platform since it was launched in April last year. The value of the produce traded so far is Rs20,000 crore, benefiting 4.6 million farmers, the ministry said.