New Delhi / AFP
Indiaâ€™s government promised billions of dollars to help struggling farmers and boost the rural economy as it unveiled its annual budget on Monday, looking to kickstart growth and bolster its
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley acknowledged the challenges as he presented the budget in parliament, but said he had a â€œvision to transform Indiaâ€.
â€œWe have a desire to provide socio-economic security to every Indian, especially the farmers, the poor and the vulnerable,â€ he said.
â€œWe have a dream to see a more prosperous India and a vision to transform India.â€
Jaitley pledged to spend 359 billion rupees ($5.2 billion) on doubling the income of Indiaâ€™s estimated 120 million farmers over the next five years through measures including a crop insurance scheme and better access to markets.
The vast farming sector is suffering after two years of weak monsoon rains, and from high inflation.
The budget outlined plans to raise credit available to farmers to nine trillion
rupees for 2016-17, and pledged to ensure all the countryâ€™s villages have
electricity within two years.