Agriculture, education and skill sectors may get more sops in the coming budget, says experts
The revised new central budget for 19-20 will focus more on education, skill and agriculture sectors; says experts. Major thrust will be on agriculture since this sector is facing lot of challenges including increasing cost of production, decreasing production and productivity, constraints in value addition, marketing and climatic variations. Even though India is the 7th largest agricultural exporter in the World, farmers remain in frequent distress.
Farmer suicides are also on the rise. Govt of India during the 2015-16 budget announced that farmer’s income will be doubled and organic farming will be promoted by 2022. But per capita income during the period according to NSSO was Rs 89500. If this has to reach 183000 by 2022, the sector has to exhibit a minimum growth of 10.4 percent per annum. But during the last five years annual growth was only around two percent. To achieve the target, growth should be above 13 percent. So it is clear that the budget announcement cannot be easily fulfilled. So the focus during 2019-20 budget will be more towards achieving the target of doubling farmer’s income by 2022. Agriculture sector contributes about 17 per cent of India’s GDP but employs over 50 per cent of the total workforce, and there lies a huge demand supply mismatch. Gross value addition of the agriculture and allied sectors and share of investment have been declining consistently.
Capital formation in the agriculture sector has stagnated significantly. The crop insurance scheme namely PM’s Fasal Bima Yojana covers three types of crop namely food crops (cereals, millets, and pulses), oilseeds, annual commercial or horticulture crops, which covers only 30 per cent of the total crop loans of banks. This may necessitate to include more crops under crop insurance.
The budget expectations include promotion of agri entrepreneurship and start-ups programmes to promote more women and youngsters in to agriculture. Value addition, cold chain, e marketing, exports, etc may get more emphasis. Allocation for agriculture research and dairying and fisheries sectors may be high since Government of India launched separate ministry for Dairying and fisheries sectors.
Recently Govt of India launched draft new education policy 2019 to give more thrust to quality education which states the government has a target to increase spending on education to 6% of GDP to increase gross enrolment ratio (GER) to 50% by 2035 from 25.8%.
Programmes to augment quality of education will be launched. Therefore, allocation for education will be more in the upcoming Budget. Technology enabled learning and delivery mode with digital learning platforms will be one of the focus areas in the higher education sector. In order to increase the employability of educated youths skill development programmes will be announced which can offer market-driven courses and supply skilled labour to industry. Research, skill and innovation sectors will be given more thrust through global networking. It is a fact that major initiatives like Make in India, Skill India and Digital India cannot provide envisaged job opportunities during the year 2015-19.