Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made a major announcement in the Union Budget 2020-21 related to the agriculture sector on Monday, saying that the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund would also be available for Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis.
Sitharaman has announced to hike the target of agricultural loans (farm credit) to Rs 16.5 lakh crore in the Union budget. Apart from this, the budget for Sukshma Sinchai Yojana (micro-irrigation project) has also been doubled.
The announcement made by the Union government to strengthen the APMCs is quite significant given the ongoing farmers' agitation against the three new Union farm laws introduced last year by the Central government.
It is being said that the new Central farm laws would abolish the mandi system run by the APMCs in the states. However, the Central government has always reiterated saying that the new laws would not pose any threat to the APMC mandis but if competition increases, the mandi system will become stronger.
Sitharaman has announced to hike the funding of the Sukshma Sinchai Yojana to Rs 10,000 crore.
At the same time, it has been announced to increase the Rural Infrastructure Fund i.e. basic structure of the rural sector to Rs 40,000 crore.
Sitharaman presented the General Budget for the next financial year in Parliament on Monday. She presented the Budget for the third consecutive time.