New Delhi(PTI): Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday hinted at more sops for the troubled farmers, saying the unseasonal rains in March have resulted in an "agrarian crisis". Jaitley asserted that the government is committed to allocate more resources to the farm sector, which he identified as the biggest challenge for high growth.
"Agriculture is the biggest challenge and the unseasonal rains have resulted in an agrarian crisis," Jaitley said in Mumbai on Saturday evening at an event to launch three new social security schemes.
"Once the resources with the government grow, the biggest component of the resources will be allocated for agriculture and irrigation to meet the challenge," he said without revealing how much will be quantum of the support.
Many parts of the country, including major farm producing states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, were hit by unseasonal rains in March, just as the winter crop was ready for harvest.
This led to calls for greater support to the farm sector, which has been having difficult rains due to changes in weather patterns.
In what may only aggravate the trouble, the Met office has also predicted for a lower-than-normal monsoons for this season, which can affect the summer crops in the rain-fed country.
Banks have also promised to help the farmers by deferring the repayment for loans in affected areas.
Consumer durable companies are fearing a dip in rural sales, and some like tractors have already reported signs of stress.
With questions being raised over the government's commitment to social sector schemes in certain quarters, Jaitley on Saturday affirmed full support to programmes and added that in some cases like the MNREGA, it has also increased allocations.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that the government is for the poor. The data speaks for itself, the schemes for the poor should continue," he said.
The launch of three schemes, devoted to pensions, accident and life insurance, should be seen as a step to instil social security net in the country, Jaitley said, adding that till now there was no such security for the people.
"We are an unpensioned society and want to convert it into a pensioned one," Jaitley said, speaking about the Atal Pension Yojana.
All the three schemes, which follow the high decibel bank account opening campaign of the government, aim to provide cheaper services to the people and ensure they have something to fall back on.