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Some quick fixes needed for the agricultural sector

The government has been taking some short-term as well as long-term measures to help out the farmers in the Union Budget. The short-term results are coming out in the form of an increase in the minimum support price with loan waivers. On the other hand, the long-term cure will be policies which help in the credit growth, drip irrigation, warehousing and crop insurance. The agricultural credit has been raised from Rs. 10 Lakh Crore to Rs. 11 Lakh Crore which in turn will strengthen the farmers to acquire the agricultural inputs on time.

To further relieve the stress, the finance minister has announced that Rs. 2,000 Crore will be spared to develop the agricultural market infrastructure in order to link 22,000 rural markers to the electronic national agriculture market platform. One of the most basic elements of agriculture i.e. labor is becoming difficult. Last year, around Rs. 48 Crore were allocated to MNREGA in the union budget. This scheme is likely to benefit the farmers and help them beat scarcity in farm labor if the labor force is tied up to assist the farmers. However, if this is not done, then many people will have to give up agriculture altogether.

Some dangers around MSP include that according to the budget, the minimum support price has been fixed at 1.5 times the input cost incurred in order to protect the farmer. It should be taken into consideration that the increase is not so high that it leaves out the commodity uncompetitive in the global markets. This will negatively affect the farmers if the prices need to be corrected in the coming years. The mechanisms used in agriculture needs to be improved upon and positively enhanced, practices such as crop insurance and drip irrigation should be promoted which are nowhere to be seen in the Budget of 2018. It is however hoped that in the future budgets, the government employs more policies which can increase the competitiveness of the agro-industry in addition to securing the long-term growth of farmers along with good income and quality of life.

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