Agriculture Budget: 20,000 farmers to get free mobile phones

Bhubaneswar: A separate Agriculture Budget was presented for the first time along with General Budget proposals by Finance Minister Prasanna Acharya to give a new dimension to the schemes related to agriculture and farmers. Mentioning about the separate Agriculture Budget, Finance Minister Prasanna Acharya said, “We are perhaps the second state in the country after Karnataka to present a separate Budget for agriculture and allied sectors”.

The outlay of agriculture department under plan and non-plan has been stepped up from Rs 1519.31 crore in 2012-13 to Rs 1823.77 crore in 2013-14 with an increase of about 20%.

With a view to lessening the interest burden of farmers and to increase the off-take of agriculture term loans, provision of interest subvention of 3% on term loans provided for asset creation in agriculture and further 2% interest subvention on timely repayment of loan dues has been envisaged in the Budget.

In order to augment flow of long term credit to the agriculture and allied sectors, the state government has also decided to completely waive stamp duty charges on loan documentation for term loan up to Rs 10 lakh.

The FM also made an announcement in his Budget speech to provide free mobile phones to farmers to access market information under the Digital Mandi Scheme. The FM proposed to provide mobile phones costing about Rs 1000 per phone to 20,000 farmers registered under the Digital Mandi Scheme to be implemented by the Regulated Market Committees in the state.

The FM proposed to establish agro industrial estates through IIDCO exclusively for agro based industries. These industrial estates will provide basic facilities for setting up agro industrial units by the intending entrepreneurs.

Irrigation is essential for sustaining crop productivity in many areas. The total budgetary outlay for water resources department has been enhanced from Rs 3466.42 crore in 2012-13 to Rs 4024.53 crore in 2013-14. For major and medium irrigation projects, Rs 1712.27 crore has been allocated. This includes provision for execution of seven major irrigation projects namely, Anandpur barrage project, Upper Indravati barrage project, Kanpur irrigation project, Lower Indra irrigation project, Lower Suktel irrigation project, Rengali irrigation project (left bank and right bank), Subernarekha irrigation project and ten medium irrigation projects.