09 February 2022, New Delhi: Agriculture is the backbone of Indian farmers and is one of the major sources of livelihood for more than 80% population of India. The Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman tabled a pro-growth Budget 2022 and has given due importance to agriculture. The Budget is tailored to revitalize the Indian economy and provide an impetus for growth under the leadership of Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi.
Mr. R G Agarwal, Group Chairman, Dhanuka Agritech Ltd. sharing his views on Budget 2022-23 said, “We welcome the Government’s decision of including ‘Kisan Drones’ for Agrochemical Spraying in the Union Budget 2022-23. The Use of drones will be promoted for crop assessment, digitization of land records, spraying of insecticides & nutrients. As a part of our mission of Transforming India through Agriculture by introduction of new technology products, we keep exploring new technology solutions to improve the food, nutrition, health, wealth & environment security of our Nation. As a part of the same, we have been conducting agrochemical spray trials in farms using DGCA approved drones and are closely monitoring the demonstrations which are very encouraging.”
Mentioning Dhanuka Agritech’s progress on the recent introduction of drone use in agriculture, Mr. Agarwal said, “We feel pleasure to inform you that we can offer farmers drones of 10 ltr capacity duly approved by the DGCA for spray of nutrients & agrochemicals & will also guide them to get the subsidy from the Government of India and will also arrange for drone pilot training from the authorized institute approved by DGCA. We will share more details shortly in this regard.”
On increased allocation of Budget to the agriculture sector, Mr. Agarwal said, “The Government has increased the budget of the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare to Rs. 1.32 lakh crores this year from Rs. 1.23 lakh crores last year and we are thankful to the government for bringing in special focus on the sector. The continued emphasis on increasing agricultural production & productivity; success of oilseeds & pulses mission; linking agriculture with technology; support for millet products; provision of Rs. 2.5 lakh crores for MSP will definitely improve the yield, quality & income of our farmers.”
Mr. Agarwal mentioned his expectations from budget 2022 for the agrochemical sector, he said, “The agrochemicals sector despite being the torchbearer of crop protection didn’t attract the much-needed GST reduction from the current very high 18% to zero or maximum 5%. We request the support of farmer associations & individual farmers to write to the Ministry to reduce GST. In the country, more than 85% farmers are small & marginal land holders. The benefit of new policies in agriculture is mostly taken big farmers but if this GST is reduced, the benefit will reach every small & marginal farmers in the country. The sector is also in need of 200% weighted deduction on R&D investment / expenses by agrochemical companies. The agrochemical industry will then be able to continue their investment on R&D, extension & training activities of farmers. These would give impetus to R&D and ensure that new technology / green chemistry products are made available in large quantities at competitive prices to our farmers.
On financing agri startups, the Indian Government plans to facilitate a fund with blended capital raised under the co-investment model through NABARD to finance agri start-ups & rural enterprises in a PPP mode. The activities of these start-ups will include inter-area support for FPOs, machineries for farmers on a rental basis at the farm level & technology based services.
The Ken-Betwa link project will not only irrigate an area of about 1 million hectares but will also provide drinking water to 62 lakh people & generate electricity besides creating new jobs. The implementation of Ken-Betwa river-linking project in Bundelkhand will improve the scope of agriculture in this drought-prone region spreading across 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
The Budget announcements will ultimately help to achieve the vision of Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi of doubling the farmers’ income & transforming India into a US$ 5 Trillion economy by 2025, out of which US$ 1 Trillion contribution i.e. 20% can be from the agriculture sector, which is its true latent potential. Only then, the true essence of India’s “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” will be realized as the benefit will reach small & marginal farmers also.