Farmers and villages are at the “heart of this year’s budget”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today amid a red-hot debate over farmers’ income that is sweeping several states including Punjab and Haryana. Calling it a “proactive budget”, PM Modi said, “There has been focus on helping farmers increase their income”.
Concern over a gradual phasing out of Minimum Support Prices offered by the government has triggered bitter protests after three farm laws were passed in parliament in September.
The government, which has been focusing on hiking the MSP to address the issue, today said the MSP regime had gone through “sea change” to assure prices at least 1.5 times the production cost.
There has also been a sharp increase in procurement of foodgrain and payment to farmers, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, adding, “The government is committed to the welfare of farmers.”
Presenting the Union budget in parliament, Ms Sitharaman said from ₹ 33,874 crore in 2013-2014, the total amount paid to farmers for wheat went up to ₹ 75,060 crore in 2020-2021. The number of wheat growing farmers who benefitted went up from 35.57 lakh in 2019-20 to 43.36 lakh in 2020-21.
For paddy, the amount paid in 2013-14 was ₹ 63,928 crore. In 2020-2021, this is further estimated to increase to `172,752 crore. The number of farmers who benefitted increased from 1.24 crore in 2019-20 to 1.54 crore in 2020-21.