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Agriculture sector gets a boost
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February 16, 2009 14:49 IST
While the plan allocation for agriculture has gone up by 300 percent between the period 2003-04 and 2008-09, the agriculture credit disbursement too has increased from Rs 87,000 crore (Rs 870 billion) to Rs 2,50,000 crore (Rs 2500 billion) up to 2007-08.

This was stated by the Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee while presenting the Interim Budget 2009-10 in the Lok Sabha.

The Finance Minister further stated that to strengthen short-term credit structure, revival package in 25 states involving financial assistance of about Rs 13,500 crore (Rs 135 billion) is also being implemented by the government.

The government will continue to provide interest subvention in 2009-10 to ensure that farmers get short-term crop loans upto Rs 3 lakhs at seven per cent per annum, he added.

Under the Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme 2008, debt waiver and relief amounting to Rs 65,300 crore (Rs 653 billion) covering 3.6 crore (36 million) farmers has been given by the government since June 30, 2008.

The Finance Minister reiterated that in order to ensure remunerative prices for the farmers for their crops, the UPA government has substantially hiked the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for wheat and paddy over the last five years.

Since 2003-04, MSP for the common variety of paddy has been increased from Rs 550 to Rs 900 per quintal for the crop year 2008-09. In case of wheat, the increase has been from Rs. 630 in 2003-04 to Rs1,080 per quintal for the year 2009.

Ensuring the commitment of his Government towards food security in the country and meeting the food requirement of the poor under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), Mukherjee stated that in spite of higher procurement costs and higher international prices during the last five years, the central issue prices under the TPDS have been maintained at the level of July 2000 in case of Below Poverty Line (BPL) and Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) categories and at July 2002 levels for Above Poverty Line (APL) category.

Source: PIB

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