The government on Monday eulogised farmers as the 'real heroes of India's success story" in its interim Budget for 2009-10, while outlining steps taken for their well-being including debt waiver and high support price for their produce.
". . . the real heroes of India's success story were our farmers. With record procurement of 22.7 million tonnes of wheat and 28.5 million tonnes of rice for our public distribution system in 2008, our granaries are full," acting finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said presenting the Interim Budget in Parliament.
The praise for peasants, most of whom are subsistence farmers, comes ahead of general elections due in a few months.
The minister presented statistics to hard-sell the government's initiatives to prop up the agriculture sector and improve the conditions of roughly about 60 per cent of the country's population depending upon it.
"In the period between 2003-04 and 2008-09, our government increased the Plan allocation for agriculture by 300 per cent," Mukherjee said.
The farm sector, which contributes about 18 per cent to the country's overall GDP, grew at an average of 3.7 per cent in the last four years, he said. The sector had grown at an average of a dismal 2.5 per cent during the 10th Five-Year Plan (2002-07).
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