Seeds for agricultural transformation sown: M.S. Swaminathan

Chennai, Feb 29 (IANS) The seeds for agricultural transformation has been sown for the dawn of a new era in farming is in sight, said agricultural scientist M.S.Swaminathan.

Reacting to the union budget 2016-17 presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday, Swaminathan said: “The budget has tried to be as pro-farmer as possible subject to the limitation of resources. Seeds have been sown for agricultural transformation and for attracting and retaining youth in farming. The dawn of a new era in farming is in sight.”

In a statement issued here, he said giving an income orientation to farming is probably the most significant announcement made by the finance minister when he said the government’s aim will be to double the farmer’s income in five years.

“The economic survey however points out that the contribution of agriculture and allied sectors has been declining. It is in this context that the emphasis on income becomes urgent,” Swaminathan said.

According to Swaminathan, emphasis has been placed on greater investment in the food processing industry. Also, 100 percent FDI will be allowed for marketing food products made in India.

“2016 is the International Year of Pulses and we will be importing nearly 10 million tonnes of pulses to bridge the gap between demand and supply. It is therefore appropriate that the finance minister has provided Rs. 500 crore for a special pulses mission,” Swaminathan said.

In a significant move, 0.5 percent Krishi Kalyan Cess on all taxable services will be utilised for farmers’ welfare, for increasing their social protection and for providing them with minimum needs for a better quality of life, he added.

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