After a long time, there is a distinct focus on rural communities.
The creation of a dedicated Long Term Irrigation Fund in NABARD with an initial corpus of about Rs 20,000 crore is a major step.
At the national level, only 46 per cent of the total 141 million hectares of net cultivated area is irrigated. The budget aims to bring another 28.5 lakh hectares under irrigation.
Irrigation efficiency is the need of the hour. We need a comprehensive approach; develop dams/irrigation projects, irrigation canals and feeder canals and also foster an ecosystem that respects and conserves water, stores it and recycles it. That should be the goal of every water related policy framework for irrigation in the country.
The bold dream of "Doubling of farmers' income by 2022" is laudable. Considerable investments are required to make this bold dream real. Infrastructure, capacity building, technology, agricultural markets, soil health are some of the ingredients and the budget has considered them all.
Further, the total allocation for agriculture and farmers' welfare at Rs 35,984 crore will complement the bank's lending to farmers to supplement private investments in agriculture.