No substance in budget`s agriculture hype

No substance in budget`s agriculture hype the Union budget for 2007-08 is big on illusions, small on vision. Despite the hype about its tilt towards the agriculture sector, the budget has failed to put together a package to bail out the ailing sector. Also, despite being the first budget of the 11th Five-Year Plan, it has failed to give an overall direction for the plan period.

The state of agriculture can be gauged from the available estimates: while the economy grew at 9.2 per cent in the 2006-07 fiscal, agriculture and allied activities grew at 2.7 per cent. The poor performance of the sector holds good for the entire 10th plan period (see table: Stunted growth). But despite the hype and the admission that agriculture has received far less than its due, especially in comparison to the corporate sector, the budget has failed to address the palpable crisis. The share of agriculture and allied activities in budgetary allocation has declined from 7.8 per cent in 2006-07 to a projected 7.5 per cent in 2007-08 (see table: Patchy record). As a proportion of gdp, agriculture's share has been declining