The government decided to provide poor subsidized foods, despite a bad agricultural year due to the early flood in areas rich in boro.
The Minister of Finance's budget speech had a clear reflection that the government was going to look for a much larger food subsidy this time and give food to those who need it.
But critics see no apparent movement to stop high rice prices on the market and find the government 's decision to import the staple food too late a response in the context of the manipulation of Prices of merchants.
"We intend to procure 28 metric tons of lakh and to distribute 27 metric tons of food grains in the 2017-18 fiscal year. Food aid program, we will provide food aid to 50 low-income lakh families for 5 months at an administered price, "Muhith said in his budget speech yesterday.
M Asaduzzaman, a distinguished student of the Bangladesh think tank, the Institute for Development Studies (BIDS), however, found nothing to encourage the steps.
"Why did the government allow the food stock to be depleted in the first place by letting traders take advantage of the situation? And once the stocks were exhausted in the public granaries, the government would have Had to import quickly, "he said.
The government's rice stock had a nose under 2.5 lakh MT in May, a six-year low at a time when the first flashfloods damaged, in most conservative estimates, more than 10 lakh MT of Boro rice in several districts of Haor with Sunamganj being the most hit.
Prices of coarse rice increased by at least Tk 10 kilograms in May-June compared to the same period last year. The government has proposed floating calls to buy 1 lakh MT of rice on the international market last month.
In yesterday's budget proposal, the government almost doubled the food subsidy to Tk 4546 crore of the TK 2821 crore of the outgoing fiscal year.
The plan is – the government will import more than 10 lakh MT of food grains on the international market and will get 16 lakh MT plus domestic markets and will provide millions of rural and urban poor with food in the form of 10kg Tk Subsidized rice, vulnerable group feeding (VGF), open sale (WHO), food for work (FFW) and many other programs.
In the aftermath of the next general elections, the budget also provides for an increase in the number of beneficiaries under the social protection programs (SSNP), under which the government plans to provide more benefits to the elderly, widows , To poor lactating mothers, to transgender and to bed. People in the community.
Asaduzzaman, however, said the concept should have been the way to address the widening of the wealth gap in society, instead of giving highly subsidized food to the poor.
In the budget, the government maintained the Tk 9000 crore as an agricultural subsidy while the previous year's allocation amount was eventually reduced to Tk 6000 crore.
In addition, the Minister of Finance has offered a boost in agricultural machinery in the form of tax breaks.
Muhith said: "The use of the modern method or the mechanical procedure in the agricultural sector has been greatly increased than before, we have to import these machines, however in order to manufacture the major part Of agricultural machinery locally, last year we issued a statutory ordinance fixing only 1% of duties on raw materials and components of these machines. Be included in the installation. "
He hoped, therefore, that most agricultural machinery would be produced in the country and that farmers would be able to buy them at a favorable price.
He proposed a net farm budget in the image of Tk 24430 crore, more than 4,000 crore than the revised budget outgoing budget.
With the exception of the description of some ongoing projects, which Muhith said, would help protect the regions of the country by flashfloods, there was nothing additional in the budget Proposed to recover the losses suffered by the Haor in the form of lost paddy, cattle and fishing.
The Minister of Finance noted that "Now the real wage of agricultural workers increases with an overall rise in wage rates across the country, which in turn plays a vital role in alleviating poverty And inequalities. Support this trend. We plan to continue to provide the necessary credit and input to the agriculture sector to prevent rising unemployment in this sector. "
Muhith said: "Our economy depends on agriculture. Despite the industrial expansion and extended development in the IT sector, about 45 percent of the total population still depends on the economy. Agriculture for their subsistence ".
In his speech the minister also cited the introduction of genetically engineered technology as one of the programs that the government wanted to promote to increase agricultural production and improve the condition of farmers.
He also mentioned other programs like; Innovation of the variety of rice tolerant to adverse climate, reduced post-harvest damage to crops, establishment of agricultural industries, provision of improved quality seed, extension of Irrigation, establishment of quarantine centers to ensure safe and risk-free imports, innovation of the variety tolerant to adversity of jute, research for innovation of Diversified jute products, increased use of environmentally friendly agricultural technologies, increased use of renewable energy in the agricultural sector and modernization of the value chain system in this sector.