Haryana budget: Govt announces interest waiver on crop loans - Hindustan Times
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Haryana budget: Govt announces interest waiver on crop loans

By, Chandigarh
Feb 24, 2024 09:38 AM IST

While giving the top priority to the cultivators and describing them as “the backbone of the economy of the state”, Haryana CM Khattar also brought under the spotlight of his budgetary proposals sections such as poor, youth and women by coining a “GYAN framework”, a catch phrase.

Without scaling up the size of the splurge, the BJP-JJP coalition government in Haryana sprinkled some doles to placate the restive farmers in its last budget presented in the Vidhan Sabha on Friday.

Clearly, the vote-catching populist pitch was missing in the 48-page budget document of chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who is also a finance minister, even as the government is bracing for the Lok Sabha and later assembly elections due in October this year. (Keshav Singh/ HT)
Clearly, the vote-catching populist pitch was missing in the 48-page budget document of chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who is also a finance minister, even as the government is bracing for the Lok Sabha and later assembly elections due in October this year. (Keshav Singh/ HT)

Clearly, the vote-catching populist pitch was missing in the 48-page budget document of chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who is also a finance minister, even as the government is bracing for the Lok Sabha and later assembly elections due in October this year.

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While giving the top priority to the cultivators and describing them as “the backbone of the economy of the state”, Khattar also brought under the spotlight of his budgetary proposals sections such as poor, youth and women by coining a “GYAN framework”, a catch phrase.

“GYAN means that our objective will be to provide adequate facilities to gareeb as well as annadata farmer and better opportunities for the advancement of yuva shakti and nari shakti,” Khattar said, crediting the “toil of our farmers” for agricultural production growing at 8.1% in 2023-24, which was amongst the highest in the country.

“We need to keep our eyes on the GYAN framework while facing challenges before us, in making of viksit Haryana,” he said before wrapping up two-hour-long budget speech in the assembly.

The chief minister announced to stop charging British era tax called abiana, which is levied on canal irrigation water supplied to farmers, from April 1. “This step will mean a one-time waiver of 140 crore along with an annual relief of 54 crore providing a benefit to farmers of 4,299 villages,” Khattar said.

His another key announcement to benefit farmers pertained to waiving of interest and penalty on the crop loan in case it was availed till September 30, 2023, and the principal amount was paid by May 31, 2024. To avail this benefit, the farmers should register on Meri Fasal, Mera Byora portal.

Among other highlights of the budget under ‘GYAN framework’ was that at least 5.78% ( 10,971 crore) of the total budget expenditure will be spent on ‘gareeb’ and ‘antyodaya’ in the form of 3,000 per month social security pension. The number of beneficiaries from 22.64 lakh in December 2014 have now risen to 31.51 lakh.

Khattar proposed to amend the Old Age Samman Allowance Scheme to provide benefit to employees provident fund (EPF) pensioners to the extent that the sum total of the allowance by the government and the EPF pension is equal to the old age samman allowance of 3,000.

Senior citizens receiving EPF benefits were excluded from old age samman allowance even as their EPF pension was less than 3,000 per month.

While reaching out to “yuva shakti”, the chief minister said that the government intends to provide skill training and employment opportunities to at least 60,000 youth in the coming year. Khattar allocated 1,349 crore for the youth sector.

He proposed to set up 400 sports nurseries in the next fiscal and two high performance centres of boxing and wrestling in Panipat and Sonepat to be named after prominent sportspersons in the discipline who have brought laurels to the state in the past.

In order to prepare youth to serve in the defence and paramilitary forces, three Armed Forces Preparatory Institutes (AFPIs) will be set up.

The AFPIs will pick potential candidates after Class 10 and graduation and prepare them for the competitive process to become officers and soldiers.

And under the “nari shakti” push, Khattar proposed to give drone pilot training to “5,000 sisters” of 500 self-help groups in the next financial year. The training will be provided through Drone Imaging and Information Services of Haryana (DRIISHYA) at Karnal.

The details of this scheme will be notified separately.

500 farmers to be trained to operate drones

“The government would like to assure all farmers of the state that it recognises their contributions and will stand by them at all times,” Khattar said, adding in 2023 government had made payment of 29,876 crore directly into the accounts of farmers after procuring crops under the MSP.

At least 500 youth farmers will be trained to operate drone training, while 100 farmers have been trained and provided drone pilot licence so far.

At least six botanical gardens will be set up for collection, preservation, training, etc, and to act as a major attraction for local population and centre of prominence. Three new centres of excellence will be set up for post-harvest management at Panchkula, for clean planting material at Hansi and for vertical farming at Cheeka.

Eight new government veterinary hospitals and 18 new government veterinary dispensaries will be opened.

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