Budget offers no relief for farm sector in distress4 min read . Updated: 02 Feb 2021, 05:27 AM IST
The honesty in clearing the dues as far as food and fertilizer subsidy during the pandemic year may be bold, but it also implies that the actual spending on both these heads is much less than what is reported in the budget documents
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman must be given credit for honestly disclosing the sleight of hand used by previous finance ministers while presenting budget numbers. The use of off-budget elements to present a prettier picture of the state of the economy has been an old habit of previous finance ministers. Food Corporation of India (FCI) is a good example. It was saddled with a debt of ₹3.74 trillion by the end of December despite provisions of food subsidy made in the previous budget documents. Same is the case of fertilizer subsidy with unpaid dues of ₹50,000 crore. She bravely acknowledged this in the budget of last year and has been bold enough to repay these from the central government budget, clearing unpaid dues of the fertilizer subsidy bill and a large part of the debt of FCI.