Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his Budget speech on Thursday, announced a new government scheme to help farmers manage and reuse cattle dung.
Jaitley said Gobar Dhan – or Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan – will not only help rid villages of open defecation, but will also “improve the life of our villagers”. The scheme will help farmers learn to manage cattle dung and solid waste in their farms and reuse them as compost, fertiliser, bio-gas and bio-CNG, he said.
The Gobar Dhan scheme is just one of several agriculture-focused announcements the government has made in its last full budget before General Elections in 2019.
The other such announcements include a decision to raise the minimum support price for a majority of crops to 1.5 times the production cost, health and wellness centres in major panchayats, improved infrastructure for rural business centres, and better connectivity between villages and centres of higher education.
The government has also identified 115 aspirational districts where it will invest in social services such as health and education, nutrition, rural electrification, drinking water and access to toilets in a “time bound manner”. Jaitley said these 115 districts will become models of development.
In a speech about the Budget’s provisions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Gobar Dhan Scheme will help “keep villages clean and increase the income of the farmers”.