Union Budget 2019 India: The Modi government should focus on boosting the income of the farmers by promoting food processing and farm exports in the upcoming budget, farm and agriculture experts said on Tuesday. The public and private investment should also be increased in the sector so as to guarantee better prices to farmers, news agency PTI reported citing the experts after the first pre-budget consultative committee meeting called by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The budget is scheduled to be presented in the parliament on July 5.
The agri-experts also asked for relief on GST on some farm products including milk and continuation of tax exemptions to agriculture cooperatives, the news agency also reported. The meeting that went on for more than two hours included various senior officials of the finance and agriculture ministries and representatives of the agriculture groups.
“Many participants emphasised on promoting food processing in the country. There has been some growth in food processing in the last two years only.,” PTI reported citing Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand. There was also discussion on promotion of agri-exports and non-farm issues.
The main focus in the meeting was on long-term investment in agriculture, Bharat Krishak Samaj (BKS) Chairman Ajay Vir Jakhar said. The government must ensure that the fund share between the centre and the state under the centrally sponsored scheme should be made in the ratio of 90:10 from the current 60:40 for the next five years, he added.
The farmers could be helped to sell their produce effectively by financially empowering the Primary Agriculture Cooperatives (PACs), news agency PTI reported citing National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI) Chief Executive Satyanarayana. The government may promote the rural-startups on a pilot basis and also allocate separate funds for the purpose, industry body CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said.