Finance Minister K.M. Mani announced various concessions to farmers in his Budget for 2013-14 on Friday.

The Finance Minister, who is continuing his speech in the Assembly, said that interest dues on loans taken by farmers from cooperatives as on March 15 would be written off.

Earmarking Rs. 50 crore for the proposal, Mr. Mani said that in future interest-free loans would be made available to farmers with holding of less than a hectare. Other agriculture loans would carry interest of up to four per cent. However, the liabilities would be taken over by the government in case of death of the farmer.

Comprehensive crop insurance would be drawn up to cover various crops. A sum of Rs. 12 crore would be set apart to promote organic farming.

The Minister announced that individuals would be exempted from Agriculture Income Tax. More mills would be set up for processing paddy. Neera (palm nector) would be commercialised and units will be set up for making Neera-based products. Hi-tech farming would be extended to municipal and corporation areas.

The Finance Minister also announced increase in welfare pensions for agriculture workers, widows and other groups. Hotels offering food items at fair prices would be set up at taluk centres

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