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Indian Polity

Ashok Gehlot  

Preparations are in full swing for the first separate Agriculture Budget to be presented in the Rajasthan Assembly session starting on February 9, with the emphasis on welfare measures for farmers and innovations for the benefit of cultivators.

The Budget will especially promote drip and sprinkler irrigation systems in view of the scarcity of water in the State.

Power company

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said during a pre-budget consultation with the farmers and representatives of dairy federations that the State government was considering a proposal to establish a separate power company for the agriculture sector. “Farmers have been facing hardships by waking up the entire night to irrigate their fields, as electricity was supplied to them only after dark,” he said.

Mr. Gehlot said the farmers in as many as 15 districts had started getting agricultural power during the daytime. “We will endeavour to provide electricity to the farmers in all districts for irrigating their fields during the day before March 2023 by developing a robust transmission system and ensuring adequate availability of power,” he said.

The Chief Minister said at the consultation, held over the week-end, that his government would promote drip and sprinkler irrigation systems in view of scarcity of water and depleting groundwater level across the State.

He affirmed that the farmers' welfare would get the highest priority because agriculture, horticulture and animal husbandry sectors were the backbone of the State's economy.

The announcement for the separate budget formulation for agriculture was made in the 2021-22 State budget speech of Mr. Gehlot, who also holds the Finance portfolio.

The agriculture and related sectors, including dairy and animal husbandry, in the State, registered a growth rate of 3.45% in 2020-21 despite the adverse circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The State Cabinet had last month approved a proposal to establish an Agro-Industries Development Board with the objective of increasing the farmers’ income by strengthening the agricultural marketing infrastructure. The Board will prepare a roadmap for connecting farmers with agro-processing and value addition and make recommendations for new policies.

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