Budget provides special focus on the rural economy

M K Dhanuka, managing director, Dhanuka Agritech

''The Government's effort towards giving special focus on the rural economy is a welcome step. The agriculture sector is expected to grow at 4.6 per cent in 2017-18 over the previous year and Rs10 lakh crore as credit to farmers will fuel this growth which is good news for the agri and allied sector players.

The flagship program of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for farmers - Fasal Bima Yojna is a major step to secure farmers against natural calamities. Fasal Bima Yojana coverage is to be increased from current 30 per cent to 40 per cent in 17-18 and 50 per cent in 2018-19. Setting up of soil testing labs in kisan vikas kendras is another boost for the agriculture sector.

These labs would help farmers to assess the actual nutritional requirements for their farmland and limit unnecessary expenditure on fertilizer. Additionally the micro-irrigation fund will benefit lakhs of farmers to proper and systemic irrigation facilities.

The government's commitment to help farmers double their income in five years will improve their financial standing. Allocation of Rs23,000 crore for PM Awas Yojna, setting up dairy processing infrastructure fund and plans to make 50,000 gram panchayats poverty free by 2019 clearly demonstrate government's thrust for agriculture and  rural development