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Budget 2014-15 first not to sideline agriculture: Minister

Posted on Aug 27 2014 | IANS

New Delhi Aug 27 : The union budget presented last month is the first since India's independence that has accorded agriculture its rightful place in the country's economic scheme of things, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said Wednesday.

"Through all the budgets since independence, agriculture has been sidelined. This is the first budget (2014-15), where agriculture has been placed on the frontline," Singh said here giving away the Crystal National Agri Awards instituted by a leading agro-chemicals company.

The agriculture minister said that as there is only one agricultural research institute in the country - Indian Agricultural Research Institute - Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the budget proposed to set up two agriculture research institutions of excellence in Assam and Jharkhand.

"In the next 3 years, farmers will get Soil Health Cards that will help them improve soil health. As long as the soil is poor, the farmer cannot increase yields," Singh said.

The card will carry crop-wise recommendations of nutrients required for farms in a particular village, helping farmers improve productivity by using inputs judiciously.

"We have also launched the Rashtriya Gokul Mission to conserve and develop indigenous cattle breeds in a focused and scientific manner," Singh said.

A number of Integrated Indigenous Cattle Centres (Gokul Grams) will be set up under the mission that will work for improving milk productivity.

"I have written to states for land to set up National Kamdhenu Breeding Centres, and also called a meeting of state animal husbandry ministers here September 16 to work out the modalities," he added.

Road Transport and Rural Development Minister Nitin Gadkari, who was also present on the occasion he recently inaugurated ethanol-run buses in Nagpur, which demonstrated the importance of role agriculture could play in cutting down India's oil imports.

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