New Delhi: In a major bonanza to farmers, finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday announced fixing support price of Kharif crops like paddy at least 50% higher than the cost of production, while raising farm credit target for the next fiscal by 10% to Rs11 lakh crore.

Presenting the Union Budget 2018-19, Jaitley reiterated the government’s commitment to welfare of farmers saying that the emphasis is to generate higher income for farmers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given a clarion call to double the farmers’ income by 2022, he added. Jaitley said the government has decided to fix the minimum support price (MSP) of coming Kharif (summer sown) crops, which include maize, soyabean and pulses, at least one-and-half times the cost of production.

He said the MSPs of most of rabi (winter sown) crops have already been raised. He said the government will ensure farmers get MSP even if prices fall, for which Niti Aayog will discuss with state governments the putting in place of an institutional mechanism to ensure that farmers get better prices for their produce.

Jaitley said the NDA had promised that farmers will be offered at least 50% more than the cost of production and the government is sensitive towards this. He also proposed hiking the agricultural credit target for the next fiscal by Rs1 lakh crore to a whopping Rs11 lakh crore.

The target was Rs8.5 lakh crore in 2014-15 and has been gradually increasing under the NDA government. The government will set up fisheries and aqua culture infra fund and animal husbandry infra fund with an outlay of Rs10,000 crore.

Jaitley said that 470 mandis (wholesale market) have been electronically linked under e-NAM (National Agriculture Market) programme out of 585 mandis. The remaining will be linked by March 2018. Jaitley also doubled the allocation of food processing ministry to Rs1,400 crore.