| Singh with President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on Monday. (PTI)
New Delhi, July 5: Manmohan Singh today indicated that his government’s maiden budget later this week would be largely dictated by the plight of the Andhra Pradesh farmer.
The government is likely to earmark substantial funds in the budget for farm sector security schemes.
The Prime Minister also said his government’s first budget was being drafted within limitations of time and demands of the economy. He was aware that the budget would have “limitations” and may not be a statement that will please all.
The urgency of the farm sector and the government’s drive to address its issues can mean that there will be less elbowroom for other subjects.
“Budget-making usually starts in November. We have been there (in the government) for a month. So it (the budget) will have its limitations,” Singh said. The broad direction of the budget has been outlined in his speech to the nation and in the coalition’s common minimum programme, he added.
The Prime Minister toured Andhra for his first official visit outside the capital last week.
“As Indian agriculture is getting increasingly commercialised, such incidents (like farmer suicides) may occur again if there is a lack of adequate insurance schemes and credit policy,” Singh said. “We need modern agricultural techniques for dryland agriculture. The subject (agriculture) is in the state list and we want to work with state governments.”
A comprehensive crop insurance scheme has been in existence since April 1985 and has been expanded on different occasions.
The Prime Minister’s remarks on the sidelines of a function at Rashtrapati Bhavan this evening makes it clear that the demands of the farm sector will rank high on the United Progressive Alliance government’s budget.
The Prime Minister and finance minister P. Chidambaram have been holding a series of meetings with farmers’ representatives and development bodies. Farmers’ representatives have asked for loan write-offs to relieve desperate agriculturists.