PLI Scheme for boosting R&D in Agriculture
Guest Author: Mr. N.K. Aggarwal, Chairman, Crystal Crop Protection Ltd and Chair – Agribusiness Committee, PHD Chambers of Commerce and Industry
17 August 2022, New Delhi: The Government of India introduced the Production Linked Incentives (PLI) scheme for eligible manufacturing companies to boost the domestic and local production of goods considered necessary for import substitution and for job creation and to also encourage foreign companies to find a workforce in India.
The total expenditure for PLI across the 14 sectors approved was Rs 1.97 lakh crore (over $26 billion) in Union Budget 2021-22. In November 2020 the Government approved the PLI scheme in the food processing sector for a value of Rs.10,900 cr. The scheme will be implemented over a six-year period from 2021-22 to 2026-27. The implementation of the scheme would facilitate the expansion of processing capacity to generate processed food output of Rs 33,494 crore and create employment for nearly 2.5 lakh persons by the year 2026-27.
Achieving the full potential of this sector would require Indian companies to improve their competitive strength vis-à-vis their global counterpart in terms of the scale of output, productivity, value addition, and their linkages with the global value chain. For all these, a very strong R&D is desired to enhance the value addition aspect of the Fruits and vegetables to reduce the high post-harvest losses, and also for the other sectors namely fishing, dairy industry and beekeeping.
With the PLI scheme in place, it will give a fillip to the R&D in this sector as companies will invest to create the needed value addition, bring in new technologies, and focus on proper affordable storage infrastructures. All of this will strengthen the Indian brand of food products for global visibility and wider acceptance in the domestic and international markets. This will also ensure remunerative prices of farm produce and higher income for farmers.
PLI scheme for Chemicals & Petrochemicals including Agrochemicals
The Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers is formulating PLI scheme for Chemicals & Petrochemicals including Agrochemicals. The key criteria here are import substitution of key intermediates and to ensure that India becomes self-reliant on these intermediaries needed for domestic manufacturing. This will help India to be a global sourcing hub for agrochemicals, especially with cost efficiency coupled with quality, and thereby enhance exports substantially.
At present, the R&D investment of Indian companies is at 1-2% of their turnover which is very minimal, and hence attractive incentives need to be extended to the industry to facilitate new innovations to be spurred. Implementation of the PLI scheme will boost this R&D investment too as many companies will actively get involved in the scheme.
It will be a win-win situation for the companies with a R&D focus involved with the PLI scheme as it will boost local production, bring new innovations, generate employment, spur exports, and hence earn more foreign exchange and will make India a preferred global hub for manufacturing.