In this article, we are highlighting the rural part of budget 2018.
– Government has launched Prime Minister’s Ujjwala Scheme to make poor women free from the smoke of wood. Initially target was to provide free LPG connections to about 5 crore poor women. But in view of the pace of implementation of Ujjwala scheme and its popularity among the women, it is proposed to increase the target of providing free connection to 8 crore poor women.
– Swachh Bharat Mission has benefited the poor. Under this mission, Government has already constructed more than 6 crore toilets. The positive effect of these toilets is being seen on the dignity of ladies, education of girls and the overall health of family. Government is planning to construct around 2 crore toilets.
Ground water irrigation scheme under Prime Minister Krishi Sinchai Yojna- Har Khet ko Pani will be taken up in 96 deprived irrigation districts where less than 30% of the land holdings gets assured irrigation presently. Government has allocated `2600 crore for this purpose.
– KUSUM scheme: It is a ₹1.4 lakh-crore scheme for promoting decentralized solar power production of up to 28,250 MW to help farmers. It would provide extra income to farmers, by giving them an option to sell additional power to the grid through solar power projects set up on their barren lands.
– Government of India will take necessary measures and encourage State Governments to put in place a mechanism that their surplus solar power is purchased by the distribution companies or licensees at reasonably remunerative rates
– Government has launched Prime Minister Saubhagya Yojana for providing electricity to all households of the country. Under this scheme, four crores poor households are being provided with electricity connection free of charge.
– Government has decided to keep MSP for the all unannounced crops of kharif at least at one and half times of their production cost.
– 470 APMCs have been connected to e-NAM network and rest will be connected by March, 2018.
– Government will develop and upgrade existing 22,000 rural haats into Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs). In these GrAMs, physical infrastructure will be strengthened using MGNREGA and other Government Schemes. These GrAMs, electronically linked to e-NAM and exempted from regulations of APMCs, will provide farmers facility to make direct sale to consumers and bulk purchasers.
– An Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund with a corpus of `2000 crore will be set up for developing and upgrading agricultural marketing infrastructure in the 22000 Grameen Agricultural Markets (GrAMs) and 585 APMCs.
– Organic farming by Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and Village Producers’ Organizations (VPOs) in large clusters, preferably of 1000 hectares each, will be encouraged.
– Prime Minister Krishi Sampada Yojana is our flagship programme for boosting investment in food processing. Allocation of Ministry of Food Processing is being doubled from `715 crore in RE 2017-18 to `1400 crore in BE 2018-19.
Tomato, onion and potato are basic vegetables consumed throughout the year. However, seasonal and regional production of these perishable commodities pose a challenge in connecting farmers and consumers in a manner that satisfies both. Government proposes to launch an ‘‘Operation Greens’’ on the lines of ‘‘Operation Flood’’. ‘‘Operation Greens’’ shall promote Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs), agri-logistics, processing facilities and professional management. Government has proposed to set up state-of the-art testing facilities in all the forty two Mega Food Parks.
– Government will extend a favorable taxation treatment to Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs) for helping farmers aggregate their needs of inputs, farm services, processing and sale operations.
It has been decided that by the year 2022, every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons, will have an Ekalavya Model Residential School. Ekalavya schools will be on par with Navodaya Vidyalayas and will have special facilities for preserving local art and culture besides providing training in sports and skill development.
– The National Health Policy, 2017 has envisioned Health and Wellness Centres as the foundation of India’s health system. These 1.5 lakh centres will bring health care system closer to the homes of people. These centres will provide comprehensive health care, including for non communicable diseases and maternal and child health services. These centres will also provide free essential drugs and diagnostic services. Government has committed `1200 crore in this budget for this flagship programme.
– Present Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) provide annual coverage of only `30,000 to poor families.
– A flagship National Health Protection Scheme to cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage upto 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. This will be the world’s largest government funded health care programme.
Women Self Help Groups (SHGs) will also be encouraged to take up organic agriculture in clusters under National Rural Livelihood Programme.
Finance, Banking and Loan
– Government has extended the facility of Kisan Credit Cards to fisheries and animal husbandry farmers to help them meet their working capital needs. Small and marginal farmers will get more benefits.
– Government has steadily increased the volume of institutional credit for agriculture sector to `11 lakh crore for the year 2018-19.
– The Government will expand the coverage under Prime Minister Jan Dhan Yojana by bringing all sixty crore basic accounts within its fold and undertake measures to provide services of micro insurance and unorganized sector pension schemes through these accounts.
– Government has set up a Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF) in NABARD for meeting funding requirement of irrigation works.
– Government will launch a Scheme called Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan (GOBAR-DHAN) for management and conversion of cattle dung and solid waste in farms to compost, fertilizer, bio-gas and bio-CNG.
Government has announced setting up a Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FAIDF) for fisheries sector and an Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) for financing infrastructure requirement of animal husbandry sector.
Prime Minister Awas Yojana has been launched in rural and urban areas of the country. Under Prime Minister Awas Scheme Rural, 51 lakhs houses in year 2017-18 and 51 lakh houses during 2018-19 which is more than one crore houses will be constructed exclusively in rural areas. In urban areas the assistance has been sanctioned to construct 37 lakh houses.
Bamboo is ‘Green Gold’. Government has removed bamboo grown outside forest areas from the definition of trees. And proposed to launch a Re-structured National Bamboo Mission with an outlay of `1290 crore to promote bamboo sector in a holistic manner.