Plan allocation for agriculture up 300 percent in five years

February 16th, 2009 - 5:08 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) Claiming that the United Progressive Alliance government has given “focussed attention” to farmers, Minister for External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee Monday said the plan outlay for the agriculture sector was hiked 300 percent between 2003-04 and 2008-09.

Presenting the interim budget for 2009-10 in parliament, Mukherjee said the agriculture credit disbursement has also gone up to Rs.2.5 trillion (Rs.250,000 crore) last fiscal from Rs.870 billion in 2003-04.

The government is implementing agriculture revival packages involving financial assistance worth Rs.135 billion in 25 states to strengthen short-term credit structure, he added.

In 2009-10, the government will provide interest subvention to ensure that farmers get short-term crop loans up to Rs.30 million at seven percent interest per annum, Mukherjee said.

The Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme, announced in the 2008 budget speech, “has been able to restore institutional credit to indebted farmers”, the minister told parliament.

“As per early reports, the total debt waiver and debt relief so far, amounts to Rs.65,300 crore (Rs.653 billion), covering 3.6 crore (36 million) farmers,” he added.

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