Good monsoon for consecutive two years, coupled with farmer-friendly policies and decisions of the Modi government, is going to result into highest-ever production of foodgrain in the country this year, said Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Monday.Total foodgrain production was estimated to be 273.38 million tonnes this year, which is 8.67 per cent higher than 2015-16, he said."Our government has taken several initiatives and implemented schemes for the welfare of farmers since we came to power in 2014. Last year, actual rainfall was close to the prediction of the meteorological department. This year as well, the department has forecast normal monsoon," Singh said in a media briefing about achievements of his ministry in last three years.Expressing hope of a normal monsoon this year, Singh said: "The (Southwest) monsoon has already arrived in Andaman and Nicobar islands and it is expected to come 3-4 days early in Kerala."He also noted the growth rate in agriculture and allied sector was about 4.4 per cent.The production of pulses during 2016-17 was expected to be 22.40 million tonnes, which is 37 per cent higher than that in 2015-16, he said.
Citing the achievements of his ministry, Singh said about 2.25 crore farmers were given soil health cards, which help them in deciding the amount of fertiliser to be used and manage crop cultivation effectively. "In next three months, all farmers will be given soil health cards," he said. Singh added that the government was working on a plan to develop mini labs in villages and provide hand-held devices to farmers to check soil health. Noting that the budgetary allocation for the Agriculture Ministry was Rs 30,224 crore in 2013-14 during the UPA regime, he said that the NDA government allocated Rs 45,035 crore, which was later increased to Rs 57,503 crores in the revised budget."Total budget during the UPA government's four years - 2010 to 2014 - was Rs 1,04,337 crore while our NDA government has allocated Rs 1,64,415 crore for four years, from 2014-18," Singh said. Comparing the UPA's last three years with the three years of NDA government, he said milk production increased by 16.9 per cent, egg production by 17.92 per cent, and fish production by 20.1 per cent.