As the dust settles on the country’s latest economic indicators, a nuanced picture emerges of an economy navigating through a delicate balance.
The Union Finance Minister on Tuesday proposed to increase the budget allocation in the agriculture sector from Rs 1,23,018 crore to Rs 1,32,513 crores—a marginal increase of Rs 9495 crores from the previous budget allocation.
Besides, the government has also proposed to allocate Rs 6037 to the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Diaring and another Rs 2,941 crore to the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, the Finance Minister budget provisions made by the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
She also proposed to promote high services to farmers including the use of ‘Kisan Drones’ for crop assessment, digitization of land records, spraying of insecticides and nutrients.
She said for the delivery of digital and hi-tech services to farmers with the involvement of public sector research and extension institutions along with private agri-tech players and stakeholders of the agri-value chain, a scheme in PPP mode would be launched.
Besides this, the state governments would also be encouraged to revise syllabi of agricultural universities to meet the needs of natural, zero-budget, and organic farming, modern-day agriculture, value addition, and management, the Finance Minister said.
She said a fund with blended capital, raised under the co-investment model, would be facilitated through NABARD. This is to finance startups for agriculture and rural enterprise, relevant for farm produce value chain.
“The activities for these startups will include, inter alia, support for FPOs, machinery for farmers on rental basis at farm level, and technology including IT-based support,” the Finance Minister said.
The government would also promote chemical-free natural farming throughout the country with a special focus on farmer’s land in five-kilometer-wide corridors along river Ganga. In wake of 2023 being announced as the International Year of Millets, “Support will be provided for post-harvest value addition, enhancing domestic consumption, and for branding millet products nationally and internationally,” the Finance Minister said.
She said the government would also announce a rationalized and comprehensive scheme to increase the production of oilseeds to reduce India’s dependence on the import of oilseeds.