ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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A Budget for Farmers

Nilakantha Rath The impression that this year's central budget is a farmer's budget is factually wrong. If anything, the central sector plan allocations for agriculture, irrigation and rural development are lower in 1988-89 than in 1987-88. The finance minister has made somewhat larger budgetary provisions for improvement of rice production in eastern India, improvement in oilseeds production, help to small and marginal farmers, and on Command Area Development that may help a certain body of farmers in a limited way On all other accounts the real budgetary provision is less than in the past The tax concessions are confined to very limited number of potential beneficiaries. On the contrary, the interest rate policy, which is meant to provide an unsought benefit to a large body of farmers immediately, holds out ominous consequences for financial institutions and, if persisted with, will cost the cultivators dear THE Central Budget for 1988-89, presented by the union finance minister to the parliament on the last day of February, was characterised as an agriculture or rural- oriented budget. The claim can be examined and sustained in terms of (a) the capital outlay on agriculture (including rural development and irrigation and flood control), (b) concessions provided in prices of capital and current inputs in agriculture, and (e) social services provided to the population living in rural areas and dependent on agriculture, It would be instructive to go over these three aspects of the central budget.

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