BHOPAL: Facing farmers’ wrath in the election year, the state government is all set to increase allotments in agriculture in the upcoming budget on Wednesday. In 2017-18 budget, the agriculture sector was allotted a sum of Rs 33,564 crore.
From Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana (BBY) to the recent sop that promises wheat and paddy farmers Rs 200 incentive on minimum support price, the government will require massive funds before the assembly elections slated to be held in November this year.
Chouhan has been making a slew of announcements to quell the farm crisis ever since the Mandsaur firing incident that killed 5 farmers in June last year. Finance minister Jayant Malaiya, speaking to TOI said, “All announcements related to the agriculture sector made by the chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will be incorporated in the budget”.
Though the finance minister did not reveal the amount to be earmarked for agriculture, it may touch Rs 45,000 crore, finance department sources claimed.
The government is likely to need about Rs 10,000 crore to fulfil the promises made by the chief minister during the farmers’ meet in Bhopal on February 12. Under the Chief Minister’s Agriculture Productivity Scheme, Chouhan said that he will ensure that all farmers get fair price for their produce.
Soon after the budget session gets over by March 28, the government would be gearing up to distribute almost Rs 1,800 crore to wheat and paddy farmers. Chouhan had promised to pay Rs 200 as bonus on the MSP of 67 lakh metric tonnes of wheat procured from farmers in 2016-17 at the farmers’ meet in the capital city. In the same period, 17 lakh metric tonnes of paddy was also procured. Chouhan had announced that gram, masoor and mustard crops would be included in the Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana in 2017-18 and onion in 2018-19 at the farmers’ meet.
To meet expenses of both the announcements, the state government would require more than Rs 2,200 crore.
Farmer leader Shivkumar Sharma alias Kakkaji, who is a bitter critic of the government is not satisfied.
“This is a misleading propaganda by the chief minister,” Kakkaji said.
Budget outlay may cross Rs 2 lakh crore mark
With an eye on the assembly elections , the government is going to present the biggest ever budget in the last 14 years of the BJP rule in MP. It could be more than ten times the first budget presented by the party in 2004-2005. Talking to the TOI, finance minister Jayant Malaiya said, “The size of the budget may cross Rs 2 lakh crore including the appropriation.” However, he hastened to add, the budget is yet to be finalised.
After the BJP came to power, in December 2003, Raghavji presented the first budget set at Rs 18,261.15. Last yea, Malaiya presented appropriation of Rs 1,85,564.27 crore with expenditure projection of Rs 169954.46 crore —highest since the party came to power. The size of the budget has been increasing over the years, with ever increasing debt on the state. MP’s financial prudence has always been questioned by the experts, who say that increased populist announcements are pushing up , the non -plan expenditure.