New Delhi: The Union government on Wednesday earmarked fresh funds for an agricultural programme designed to enable farmers to produce and sell crops which net better remuneration.

The government has already committed itself to doubling farm income by 2022.

The Union cabinet renamed the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) as RKVY-RAFTAAR (Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied sector Rejuvenation) with an allocation of Rs15,722 crore for the next three years.

“(It has been done) with the objective of making farming a remunerative economic activity through strengthening the farmer’s effort, risk mitigation and promoting agri-business entrepreneurship," said an official statement.

According to an official of the agriculture ministry who did not want to be identified, the scheme has been structured such that states will be incentivized to link farmers to the market and also produce more value added crops.

The officer added that for the first time the scheme has earmarked 8% of its budget for innovation, incubation and development of agri-enterprises.

The RKVY-RAFTAAR funds would be provided in the ratio of 60:40 to all states except for North-East and Himalayan states which will get 90:10 grant. For 2017-18, the scheme has been allocated Rs4,750 crore.

Under the revamped scheme, which was launched in 2007 to achieve an agricultural growth rate of 4% annually, the government said about 70% of the annual outlay will be provided for setting up infrastructure, assets and value addition while 20% of the outlay will be for special sub-schemes of national priority.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has been making efforts to reach out to farmers and strengthen its voter base in rural areas for political gains. The recently concluded assembly polls of Uttar Pradesh had witnessed strong support of farmers and rural population in favour of BJP enabling the party to return to power in the state after a gap of 15 years.

In the last few months, BJP-ruled states such as Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra have announced farm loan waivers to fulfil electoral promises, reduce farm distress and aid rural consumption. And last year, the government had revamped the crop insurance scheme to help mitigate growing risks in Indian farming as farmers diversified into more value-added produce like cash crops.

Separately, the cabinet on Wednesday also gave ex-post facto clearance to implementation of the Special Banking Arrangement (SBA) of Rs10,000 crore for payment of outstanding claims towards fertiliser subsidy in 2016-17. The cabinet also approved to amend the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) Act to grant one-time retrospective recognition to the central and state universities who are running teacher education courses without NCTE permission.

PTI and Gyan Varma contributed to this story.

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