Wednesday, 2 March 2016

UNION BUDGET 2016- Bringing Back Rural Priorities and Rural Management Careers in Forefront

Although the middle class and especially salaried people are not happy with the union budget 2016 as it has not fulfilled the expectation rather has dissatisfactory provisions like:  No raise in standard deduction slabs in income tax, levying of additional krishi kalyan cess @ 0.5% on all taxable services, deduction of income tax in withdrawal of more than 60% of the provident fund deposit and many more.  But if one critically analyses the budget presented by finance minister Arun Jaitley's on the leap day of the year,  it will come across as largely pro-rural and pro-poor and  an attempt to bring back the pace of development for the rural sector.

To restore a sense of income security to Indian farmers, Government allotted Rs 35,984 crore for agriculture and farmers’ welfare with an intention to double the farmers’ income by 2022 by addressing issues of optimal utilization of water resources, creating new infrastructure for irrigation, conservation of soil fertility with balanced use of fertilizer and by providing forward and backward linkages from farm to market.  Budget announced ‘Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana’, to bring another 28.5 lakh hectares under irrigation.  Eighty Nine projects under Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) will be fast tracked to irrigate additional 80.6 lakh hectare. To implement it successfully, projects will require Rs 17,000 crores in the FY 2016-17 and Rs 86,500 crore in the next five years. Union Budget also announced to create a dedicated Long Term Irrigation Fund in National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) with an initial corpus of Rs 20,000 crore. A similar programme for sustainable management of ground water resources, with an estimated cost of Rs 6,000 crores has also been proposed for multilateral funding. Under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) 5 lakh farm ponds and dug wells in rain fed areas and 10 lakh compost pits for organic manure production will be created. All these above schemes will bring more agriculture land under irrigation facilities.

Union Budget 2016 announced ‘Parmparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana’ for bringing 5 lakh acres of rain fed areas under organic farming. A scheme ‘Organic value chain development in North East Region’ has been launched to make their organic produce find domestic and export markets. It will help to replicate Sikkim model which made history by becoming the first in the country to legislate for turning its entire agricultural produce organic. 

Now under ‘Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana’ all the left over 65,000 eligible habitations will be connected by road.  The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana or PMGSY is a nationwide plan in India to provide good all weather road connectivity to unconnected villages. This Centrally Sponsored Scheme  was introduced in 2000 by the then Prime Minister of India Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.  The scheme will not only change the lifestyle of villagers but also connect the rural urban market.

Four new initiatives to make animal husbandry more remunerative to the farmers are also an important component of 2016 Budget.  First, ‘Pashudhan Sanjivani’,,  an animal wellness programme and provision of Animal Health Cards (Nakul Swasthya Patra); Second, an advanced breeding technology; Third, Creation of E-Pashudhan Haat, an e market portal for connecting breeders and farmers; and  Fourth, a National Genomic Centre for indigenous breeds.  At a cost of Rs 850 crore, over the next few years these projects will be implemented.  In lieu of the recommendations of 14th Finance Commission, Finance Minister announced an allocation of Rs. 2.87 lakh crore as Grants in Aid to Gram Panchayats and Municipalities (228 per cent increase compared to previous five years). Similarly under ‘Deen Dayal Antyodaya Mission’ every block in the areas of drought and rural distress will be covered besides being taken up for priority under ‘Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana’.  Three hundred Rurban Clusters will be developed under the ‘Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban Mission’to incubate growth centres in rural areas by providing infrastructure amenities and market access for the farmers. 

In order to spread digital literacy in Rural India, 2 new Schemes viz. ‘National Digital Literacy Mission’ and ‘Digital Saksharta Abhiyan’ (DISHA) has been launched.  Under the new Digital Literacy Mission Scheme, 6 crore additional households will be revamped and will be implemented as a Central Sector Scheme.  He proposed a new structure scheme, ‘Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan’ to help Panchayat Raj Institutions to deliver Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Dr. Goutam Sadhu, Dean, School of Rural Management, IIHMR University, Jaipur says that under MBA-Rural Management we strive for the students to understand, analyze and identify realistic solutions and management interventions to meet the developmental challenges confronting a rapidly transforming India. The core of academic practice at the SRM –IIHMR University seeks to balance analytical, professional, and experiential learning with the inspiration to act progressively in different spheres of life, so as to truly impact life in ways that are necessary for the sustained well-being of countless people negotiating India’s rural-urban continuum. These attitudes are woven into the research, teaching, training, and consulting engagements of the SRM, IIHMRU.