First time, Budget dedicated to farmers: Min
Satisfied with budgetary allocation to the farm sector in the Budget 2016-17, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Tuesday said that it was for the first time that there is a budget dedicated to villages, poor and farmers.
“A new dimension has been initiated in agricultural sector for the progress and welfare of farmers. This time a tremendous enhancement has been made in the Budget related to agriculture and irrigation. No one had witnessed such a change earlier,” Singh told reporters at a press conference organised to thank Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for presenting pro-farmer Budget.
Commenting on the Kisan Kalyan cess, Singh said, “It’s for the first time that a cess of 0.5 per cent has been levied for generating fund for the farmers. We are expecting a collection of Rs 5,000 crore from the Kisan Kalyan cess, which would be utilized for ongoing farmer’s welfare schemes such as irrigation plan, soil health card, crop insurance, etc.”
When asked as if there is any concrete expenditure plan to utilise this expected fund, Singh said, “Yes, we have a plan, which would be unveiled after exact amount of collected tax would be received.” However, he maintained that the 0.5 per cent cess would put burden on the pockets of common man in the form of service tax, but it will help in making farmers happy.
In contrary to Singh, officials of the agriculture ministry said that as such there is no expenditure plan. “We can just assume that a certain amount would be added to the exchequer by assessing service tax calculations. To decide as how that fund would be used is a different ball game, which cannot be decided in a day. We are working on it, which would be finalised very soon,” a senior official in the agriculture ministry said.