Jaitley announces major push in credit for farmers

New Delhi, Feb 1: Fince Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday here announced Rs 10 lakh crore for agriculture credit for the current fiscal year. Special efforts will be made to ensure adequate credit to “under served” regions like eastern states and Jammu and Kashmir, Jaitley said, presenting the Union Budget 2017-18 in the Lok Sabha.

Noting that about 40 per cent of the small farmers procure loans from cooperative structure, Jaitley said the government will support tiol Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (bard) for the computerisation and integration of its 63,000 “functiol PSEs” with core banking support and fincial cooperatives. This integration will be done over three years at an estimated cost of Rs 9,800 crore with fincial participation from the states. “This will ensure seamless flow of credit to small and margil farmers,” he added.

Jaitley also termed the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yoja (PMFBY) as an important step in safeguarding farmers’ crops against tural calamities, and announced a coverage of 40 per cent for the current fiscal year, increased from 30 per cent in 2016-17. The budget for the PMFBY has increased from Rs 5,500 crore last year to Rs 13,220 crore this year. To help farmers know the quality of soil, Jaitley announced setting up of ‘mini-labs’ at Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) and ensure 100 per cent coverage in all 648 KVKs across the country. “Issuance of soil health cards has gathered momentum… Its real benefits would be available only when the soil samples are tested for quality,” he said. (IANS)