NEW DELHI: Union minister Arun Jaitley has said subsidies to farmers under various schemes can coexist with the basic income support scheme announced in the Union Budget on Friday and that states should consider topping it up so that farmers get better financial support.
In the interim budget for FY20, finance minister Piyush Goyal has announced a direct income transfer of ₹6,000 a year to farmers with cultivable land of two hectares. Economists had suggested that the income support scheme should be financed by withdrawing the subsidies to farmers which are not useful. Jaitley, who is currently in the US, told reporters in a video interaction that subsidies should co-exist with the income support scheme.
“Income support scheme and subsidies can go hand in hand," said the minister, adding that rural India and agriculture are sections that need support. The minister also said that state governments should consider topping up the centre’s financial support to farmers.
The minister explained that there was no one-off measure to address agrarian distress. “The stress in one sector of the economy has been flagged and it is incumbent on all, whether centre and state, to systematically take steps to deal with the stressed sector of the economy," said Jaitley. Quite a lot of investment has already been made in rural areas including by state governments, he said.
“Improving the lot of the Indian farmer and adding to his purchasing power will help the economy much more than the expenditure being undertaken," Jaitley said.
The minister also said in a Facebook post earlier in the day that the aim of the government was to make the country a five trillion dollar economy by the middle of the next decade. “We envisage an India where poverty is eliminated, the Eastern regions grow at par with other parts of the country, rural India having urban-like facilities, and that female employment in India in the formal sector expeditiously increases," the minister said.