Odisha agri Budget doles out sops for farmers

Continuing its thrust on farm sector, the Odisha government in its fourth agriculture Budget, proposed a start-up fund for promotion of entrepreneurship in agri-business, agro-based industries and enterprises.

"The state government would launch an agri start-up programme to complement the efforts put in for promotion of agri-entrepreneurship in the state under the capital investment and farm modernisation programmes. Unemployed graduates in agriculture and allied sectors will be motivated to start agro-based enterprises", finance minister Pradip Amat said in his Budget speech.

With an outlay of Rs 13181.89 crore, 21 per cent higher over previous financial year, the Budget focuses on crop diversification from paddy to other cereals like maize and millets, pulses, oilseeds and other high value crops.

It has been planned to provide irrigation to one million hectares (ha) of cultivable land for a period of five years (2014-19), including 257,000 ha in 2016-17. The agriculture Budget has earmarked Rs 100 crore for construction of godowns under the Warehousing Infrastructure Fund of Nabard.

For drought affected farmers, the Budget offers an interest subvention of Rs 227.38 crore over a period of three years for conversion of short-term loan to medium term loan in the aftermath of the drought. It has also been proposed to provide Rs 435.48 crore towards interest subvention to the farmers through the banks and primary agriculture cooperative societies. Farmers availing crop loan of up to Rs 50,000 will have to pay only one per cent interest on timely repayment.

The Budget provides Rs 800 crore as state share of the premium for the existing National Agriculture Insurance Scheme. Besides, Rs 300 crore has been earmarked under the recently launched Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.

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