The Union Budget 2019 will give a major thrust to irrigation projects and water conservation schemes, says former agriculture secretary Siraj Hussain.
"Even in the previous term, the Modi government did a good job by bringing all these irrigation schemes together under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY). But for some reason, the Centre could not persuade the states to quicken the implementation of these schemes. Even in the case of micro-irrigation, the required thrust was not there. So, I think the allocation for micro-irrigation will increase and the government will incentivise the expansion in area under micro-irrigation. Also I think the allocation under PMKSY will also increase," Hussain told CNBC-TV18.
The government should keep the Essential Commodities Act (ECA) in abeyance or abolish it, the former secretary opined. "Due to this act, private trade in the market has been affected. They do not want to invest because they fear that the government would introduce stock limits or movement restrictions. The stockists have had to sell their stocks whenever the stock limits are imposed by the government. Under the current circumstances, I think it will be a very good decision if the government keeps the ECA in abeyance for a substantial length of time -- not less than 3-5 years. I think it will encourage private investment in the warehousing sector," Hussain observed.