The Hindu Business Line

Will Cong’s Kisan Budget bring

- SHISHIR SINHA AP

The Congress on Tuesday unveiled its 22-point agenda to address issues related to agricultur­e, farmers and farm labourers. These points include ‘Karz Mukti’ (freedom from indebtedne­ss) and redesignin­g the rural employment programme. But what seems to be much talked about is the proposed ‘Kisan Budget.’

“In order to prioritise issues affecting the agricultur­al sector, we will present a separate budget for farmers,” said the Congress manifesto.

This could either mean a separate Budget like the one for Railways had till 2016 or a dedicated section in the General Budget itself.

BusinessLi­ne spoke to a number of economists regarding the structure of the new proposal. In case of a separate Budget, the Kisan Budget will have a receipt and expenditur­e segment. Economists said the receipt Budget The Congress manifesto promises a separate Budget for farmers

will have minimum entries, because there are not many earning sources from this sector, while the expenditur­e section will have maximum entries. This Budget could be presented by the Agricultur­e Minister.

However, many economists dismissed this idea on the grounds that it cannot be like an ordinary Budget where both income and expenditur­e have equal importance.

“Kisan Budget, as promised, may not add anything more

than what is highlighte­d in the manifesto, but can help the Congress keep the narrative of the electoral debate focussed on agrarian issues, where they feel they have an advantage,” an economist, who did not want to be identified, said.

NR Bhanumurth­y, Professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), said there could be a dedicated section on agricultur­e in the General Budget. It will have the outlays of various line ministries

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