Mumbai, Feb 28: Agriculture and livestock experts Thursday said more could have been done for the sector in the union budget for 2103-14
While farm land activists criticised the budget stating that it was indifferent to the plight of debt-trapped farmers, livestock experts said it is encouraging that Rs.307 crore will be provided for the National Livestock Mission.
Sanjay Kaul, managing director and CEO of the National Collateral Management Services Ltd (NCMSL) expressed disappointment in agriculture allocation, terming it a “non-starter”.
“The allocation of Rs.10,000 crore towards the proposed food security bill is a gross under-provision,” he said.
However, he welcomed the exemption of service tax for testing agricultural produce stating that it facilitate standardisation and gradation of farm produce.
Kishor Tiwari, president of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) claimed that instead of providing special bailout packages and funds to encourage organic farming practices, the government is “more interested in promoting interests of MNCs and market speculators”.
Sushil Karwa, managing director of Krishidhan Group, an agro based company welcomed the allocation of Rs. 500 crore to start a program in crop diversification and promote technological innovation.
“Allocation of Rs Rs. 3,415 crore for agri-research is also very encouraging. However, since private sector is playing a leading role in biotech and agri sector, we hope that government would channelise some funds in private sectors in the form of grants and/or soft loans so as to encourage the sector,” he said.
“There are no specific measures to benefit the biotechnology industry or the vaccine industry in terms of tax exemptions or benefits. However, increased outlay for health and agriculture in general and specifically for the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas program and the new National Livestock Mission will have spin off benefits for our industry,” said K.V. Balasubramaniam, managing director of Indian Immunological Limited, an animal healthcare company.