Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee (Photo: Wikipedia)
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee (Photo: Wikipedia)
New Delhi: Stating that agriculture will continue to be a priority sector for the government, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Friday said total plan outlay for the agriculture and cooperation department would be increased to Rs.20,208 crore for the next fiscal, a hike of 18 percent.

“Agriculture will continue to be a priority for the government. The total plan outlay for the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation is being increased by 18 percent from Rs.17,123 crore in 2011-12 to Rs.20,208 crore in 2012-13,” Mukherjee said during his budget proposal for the year 2012-13.

He said the outlay for Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) was being increased from Rs.7,860 crore in 2011-12 to Rs.9,217 crore in 2012-13.

“I am happy to inform the House that the initiative of Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI) has resulted in a significant increase in production and productivity of paddy. States in eastern India have reported additional paddy production of seven million tonnes in Kharif 2011,” he told the Lok Sabha.

The Finance Minister proposed to increase the allocation for the BGREI scheme from Rs.400 crore during FY12 to Rs.1,000 crore during FY13.

He said the Centre intends to merge the remaining activities into a set of missions to address the needs of agricultural development in the 12th Five Year Plan.

These Missions include the National Food Security Mission which aims to bridge the yield gap in respect of paddy, wheat, pulses, millet and fodder. The ongoing Integrated Development of Pulses Villages, Promotion of Nutri-cereals and Accelerated Fodder Development Programme would now become a part of this Mission. Secondly the National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture including Micro Irrigation is also being taken up as a part of the National Action Plan on Climate Change. The Rainfed Area Development Programme will be merged with this.

The National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm which aims to increase production and productivity of oil seeds and oil palm, the National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology focuses on adoption of appropriate technologies by farmers for improving productivity and efficiency in farm operations and the National Horticulture Mission which aims at horticulture diversification, which will also include the initiative on saffron, have also been included.

Informing that “Mission for Protein Supplement” was being strengthened, Mukherjee said to improve productivity in the dairy sector, a Rs.2,242 crore project was being launched with World Bank assistance.

The food processing sector has been growing at an average rate of over eight percent over the past five years, he added.

Source: IANS