Tarun Sharma Moneycontrol Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's Budget 2017 speech was fairly well-focused on providing an impetus to the rural India. Proposals for farm and dairy sector will only add to increasing income potential of rural India, NABARD Chairman Dr Harsh Kumar Bhanwala told Moneycontrol. Here are the excerpts of the interview with Bhanwala. This time rural India is in first priority for government. Do you think this announcement will improve conditions of rural population?
It is positive Budget and on the line of expectation. The government has touched every point which helps to increase income of rural part of the country. This Budget brings rural India and its aspirations to the centre stage. I am very happy that the Government of India has emphasised the importance of this silent majority which feeds India. Do you think rural income will increase by raising investment in dairy sector? Certainly, this investment helps rural part to increase income. The Rs 8,000 crore allocation for dairy development in this Budget will give significant impact on rural income. Importantly, dairy will give positive impact on income in shorter period as compare to crop or other measures. We produce 150 million tonnes of milk daily of which only 20 percent comes from organized sector. Now, the focus on dairy market will improve condition of this sector and will become more organised. Interestingly, organised players give much better price to milk producers.
The allocation for dairy will allow NABARD to finance modernization of milk processing units, encourage new bulk milk cooling units, improve milk production and promote modernisation of breeding facilities. The government set up dedicated irrigation fund. How helpful will it be to farmers? I am happy to see that an allocation of Rs 5,000 crore has been made for setting up a dedicated fund for enhancing irrigation efficiency which will bring us closer to the “More Crop Per Drop” idea enunciated by the Prime Minister. This fund will help to farmers for using micro and drip irrigation systems. Contract farming law will also be helpful to farmers. Have you sought a budget for NABARD from government? Yes, we have requested for a budget. We will come to know about it's status in the next two to three days.