Archive for February, 2013

Addressing Agriculture : Odisha Budget 2013

Odisha Budget

Odisha Budget

The Odisha state budget that was presented by Mr. Prasanna Acharya in the  State Assembly has been a mixed bag of sop and punishments. However what is notable with this year’s state budget apart it from being the highest ever budget outlay of Rs 60,303.09 Crore, is the fact that too much emphasis was laid on agriculture and allied sector.

The state government for the first time ever in the history of odisha and the second time in the history of the country (after Karnataka), presented a special tailor made  budget for the agriculture sector. The budget outlay for agriculture,horticulture and allied sector has been increased from rs 5627.84 crore in 2012-13 to Rs 7161.84 crore un 2013-14. The finance minister has also announced 3% interest subvention on farm loan and an additional 2% would be provided to the farmer on repayment of the loan. Apart from this, the budget makes provision for health insurance for farmers under the Biju Krushak Yojana.

The budget itself is an emphasis of the fact that the Government has realized the importance of  providing support to the agriculture sector. In a marked shift from its pro-Industrial policies since the inception of this century which triggered the growth and diversification of economic activities in odisha, this year’s  budget is aimed at bringing back people to the agricultural sector.

The sudden shift in government’s priorities is understandable. Owing to lack of support from the government, the agricultural sector has suffered. While the total contribution of agriculture to state’ GDP has gone down to 17.49% in 2012-13, the total productivity has hovered around 21.97 quintals per hectare, which is way below the national average. This is clearly a threatening call to the state’s 67% odd population that depend on agricultural activities for their livelihood.

So the decision of the state government to take steps to address the issue on an emergency basis by presenting a Special budgets for the farmers is understandable. However what needs to be seen is the implementation of all the schemes that have been announced. Translation of  goals into actions would certainly boost the agricultural sector in Odisha