Measures set out in Rajasthan’s first agricultural budget help farmers

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Measures taken under the first-ever agricultural budget presented in Rajasthan this year have helped farmers with an adopted mode of mission for 11 thematic areas. Small, marginal farmers have benefited from subsidies for solar pumps and agricultural ponds, while drip irrigation has been promoted as a long-term solution in arid regions.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had presented the agriculture budget for 2022-23 to the Assembly in February this year in the hope of gaining support from farmers unhappy with the Centre’s agricultural policies and solidifying their support for his government. A provision of ₹5,000 crore for Krishak Sathi Yojana was budgeted.

Reviewing the status of budget actions, Gehlot said all announcements would be implemented to extend benefits to farmers with a focus on innovations for growers. The budget particularly favored drip and sprinkler irrigation systems given the scarcity of water in the state.

Schemes for smallholders and marginal farmers have been publicized to extend benefits to targeted groups, Gehlot said. Drip irrigation was promoted for arid regions with provision of ₹1,750 crore for four lakh farmers, while approval was issued for provision of drip irrigation equipment to 1.60 farmers lakh for use on two lakh hectares under the state micro-irrigation mission. Also, a grant of ₹61.58 crore was provided for solar pumps.

The Chief Minister said 1,000 drones would be procured at a cost of ₹40 crore to be distributed to village cooperative societies and agricultural producer organizations for spraying pesticides in a safe and effective manner. Seeds of improved varieties have also been distributed to marginal farmers, while 76% of crop planting work has been completed during the current monsoon season.

Chief Secretary Usha Sharma has given instructions to prepare a digital database of all farmers in the state to enable them to obtain agricultural loans and various grants and make crop insurance claims without hassle . The digital link will also facilitate the rapid publication of agriculture-related notices.

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