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Rs.27,049 crore outlay for agriculture ministry

New Delhi, Feb 28, 2013, (IANS):
In order to boost food production, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram Thursday proposed an outlay of Rs.27,049 crore for the agriculture ministry, up 22 percent over the revised estimates of 2012-13.

"The outlay for agriculture ministry will be Rs.27,049 crore," said the finance minister while presenting the union budget 2013-14. "Out of this, Rs.3,415 crore will go for agricultural research," he said.

The finance minister also set apart Rs.10,000 crore for the National Food Security Act, which the government hopes to pass in the current session.

"I hope the National Food Security Bill will be passed by parliament as early as possible as food security is as much a basic human right as the right to education or the right to health care," he said.

The finance minister also proposed Rs.1,000 crore to continue support to the new green revolution in eastern states like Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal to increase the rice production.

Under the budget outlay, the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana gets Rs.9,954 crore and Rs.2,250 crore have been proposed for the National Food Security Mission.

He also proposed Rs.500 crore for starting a programme of crop diversification.
To provide relief to small and marginal farmers, especially in drought prone and ecologically-stressed regions, he increased allocation for the Integrated Watershed Programme to Rs.5,387 crore from Rs.3,050 crore.

Stating that foodgrain production this year will be over 250 million tonnes, the finance minister thanked the farmers for their hard work and said the agricultural credit target has been increased to Rs.7 lakh crore from Rs.5.75 lakh crore.

The finance minister also proposed a matching equity grants to registered farmer producer organisations (FPOs) up to a maximum of Rs.10 lakh per FPO to enable them to leverage working capital from financial institutions.

For this purpose, an outlay of Rs.50 crore has been made, he said.

Besides, a credit guarantee fund will also be created in the Small Farmers' Agri Business Corporation with an initial corpus of Rs.100 crore, he said.

Chidambaram also proposed Rs.307 crore for the National Livestock Mission which

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