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agriculture | IST

Government likely to announce farm package in interim budget: Here's what experts have to say

Interim finance minister Piyush Goyal is scheduled to present the BJP government's sixth and final budget of the current tenure, during which it is widely speculated that he may announce sops to regain political ground that the BJP seemed to have lost in the recent assembly elections.
The build-up has been all about farmers and ways to rejuvenate the rural economy. According to sources, the government seems to have finalised farm package which will appease the farmers.
The centre is planning to announce a farm package on the lines of schemes announced by Odisha and Madhya Pradesh governments, said sources familiar with the matter.
Over the past few weeks, after studying farm packages announced by different state governments, the centre has zeroed in on the farm policies by Madhya Pradesh's Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana (BBY) and Odisha's Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA).
CNBC-TV18 is in conversation with Siraj Hussain, former agriculture secretary; M J Khan, chairman of ICFA; Devendra Sharma, agri economist and Ajay Vir Jakhar, chairman of Bharat Krishak Samaj, to discuss the likely farm packages that the government may announce in the interim budget.
Ajay Vir Jakhar said, “I have been hearing the same voices for the last four budgets that it is going to be a farmer-friendly budget. There have been all sorts of slogans and promises over four years to the point that I lost hope that there could be any miracles in the coming budget also."
"I don’t have much hope on the outcomes. I have a lot of hopes that the announcements are going to be very good, but I do not have any hope that these announcements will turn into favourable positive outcomes for farmers,” Jakhar added.
Siraj Hussain said, “Bhavantar is very difficult to implement. For that we need a very robust mandi infrastructure and a very detailed, thorough, correct and incorruptible system in markets which unfortunately does not exist in most of the states."
"As far as KALIA kind of model is concerned it is doable. However, there would be enormous difficulties in identifying people who would be given the benefit. Even if this scheme is limited to rural areas and people dependant on agriculture their identification is not easy as we have seen in case of National Food Security Act," Hussain said.
Devendra Sharma said, "I am also keeping my fingers crossed, we will have to see, wait and watch as to what exactly they come up with. Even if I look at the Telengana model of Rs 10,000 per acre, it boils down to Rs 800 per month. Now if Rs 800 per month is big support then we need to be worried about the kind of deprivation that prevails in the countryside and if you even look at Odissa, it is model of around Rs 10,000 crore that they want to spend on the scheme for three years."
"This kind of schemes whether it is KALIA or Telangana model, it is not going to be working in a manner that bring a longtime change," Sharma said.
M J Khan said the government is concerned about how quickly it can transfer the benefits to the farmers.