The government on Friday announced an increase in budget allocation for the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare by over 78 per cent to around Rs. 1.3 lakh crore for the current fiscal. However, several opposition leaders, including NCP's Sharad Pawar, have criticised the government for failing to provide a solution or relief to the debt-trapped farmers.
In the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday, the first since the BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned for a second term in power, Rs 75,000 crore has been allocated for the flagship scheme PM Kisan Yojana.
The flagship scheme launched just before the general elections aims to give Rs. 6,000 annually in three equal installments to 12.6 crore small and marginal farmers.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the budget has "a roadmap to transform the agriculture sector of India".
However, opposition leaders like NCP chief Sharad Pawar attacked the Modi government over the crisis in the agriculture sector.
"The Hon FM spoke about replicating Zero Budget Natural Farming model for the Agro sector, whilst at the same time not providing any solution or relief to the debt trap faced by farmers pan-India, leave alone referring to this serious issue in her speech," Sharad Pawar tweeted.
The FM should have rolled out a definite action plan with a budgetary provision to double farmers' income by 2022, and solutions to solve the issues at hand faced by the farmers.#Budget2019— Sharad Pawar (@PawarSpeaks) July 5, 2019
In another tweet, Mr Pawar suggested the Finance Minister should have "rolled out a definite action plan with a budgetary provision to double farmers' income by 2022, and solutions to solve the issues at hand faced by the farmers."
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in a tweet said, "Gaon, Gareeb and Kisaan are mentioned as mere slogans without any concrete schemes to deal with farm distress".
No mention of agriculture in budget speech shows govt is not at all serious about improving conditions in rural sector.— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) July 5, 2019
The Finance Minister did not mention various budgetary allocations in her speech, which has been part of past #budget speeches for sake of clarity.#Budget2019
"No mention of agriculture in budget speech shows govt is not at all serious about improving conditions in rural sector," Mr Gehlot said in another post.
Congress leader P Chidambaram who called Ms Sitharaman's budget speech "one of the most opaque" also attacked the Modi government over the farmer issue.
On being asked about farm sector revival at a press conference on Friday evening, the former finance minister said: "In the speech given by the finance minister, there was no mention of the agriculture system. How can I say something if she has not mentioned anything?"