NEW DELHI: Union Minister Arun Jaitley has indicated that that the ₹6,000 a year income support to small farmers announced in the interim budget FY20 could be raised when government's fiscal health improves.
"This is the first year where it (farmer income support scheme) has begun. I am sure as the government resources improve, this can be increased," news agency PTI said in a report filed from New York quoting Jaitley.
The minister had on Friday suggested that states should consider topping up the income support given by the union government so that farmers benefit more. The announcement of the income support scheme with effect from December and allocation of ₹20,000 crore in the revised estimate of FY19 has sent the message that the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) interim budget before national polls due by Apri-May was not an election promise, but the formal roll out of the scheme. Jaitley’s hint that it could be scaled up eventually could tempt opposition parties to make competing promises.
Jaitley had on Friday said that the income support scheme was not in lieu of the various subsidies that are at present directed to farmers. He said that those subsidies can coexist with the basic income scheme and that states should consider topping it up, Mint reported on Friday.
Economists had suggested that the income support scheme should be financed jointly by union and state governments and by withdrawing the subsidies to farmers which are not useful.