01 February 2023, New Delhi: The Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman announced 6 major areas of development in the agriculture sector during her budget 2023-24 speech. These areas will help farmers with farm credit, planning crops, crop insurance, and technology. The finance minister announced that all the aspects of the budget for agriculture in India will help build Digital Public Infrastructure for Agriculture.
6 Major announcements for the Agriculture Sector from the Union Budget 2023
1. Agriculture Accelerator Fund
The Finance Minister announced that an Agriculture Accelerator Fund will be set up to encourage agri-startups by young entrepreneurs in rural areas, which will aim at bringing innovative and affordable solutions for challenges faced by farmers. It will also bring in modern technologies to transform agricultural practices and increase productivity and profitability.
2. Enhancing the productivity of cotton crop
To enhance the productivity of extra-long staple cotton, Government will adopt a cluster-based and value chain approach through Public Private Partnerships (PPP). This will mean collaboration between farmers, the state, and industry for input supplies, extension services, and market linkages.
3. Atmanirbhar Horticulture Clean Plant Programme
Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the Government will launch an Atmanirbhar Clean Plant Programme to boost the availability of disease-free, quality planting material for high-value horticultural crops at an outlay of Rs 2,200 crore.
4. Global Hub for Millets: ‘Shree Anna’
Ms. Sitharaman said that India is the largest producer and second largest exporter of ‘Shree Anna’ in the world as it grows jowar, ragi, bajra, kuttu, ramdana, kangni, kutki, kodo, cheena, and sama.
She mentioned that these have several health benefits, and have been an integral part of our food for centuries and acknowledged with pride the huge service done by small farmers in contributing to the health of fellow citizens by growing these ‘Shree Anna’. She added that to make India a global hub for ‘Shree Anna’, the Indian Institute of Millet Research, Hyderabad will be supported as the Centre of Excellence for sharing best practices, research, and technologies at the international level.
5. Agriculture Credit
Dwelling on welfare measures for farmers, the Finance Minister announced that the agriculture credit target will be increased to Rs 20 lakh crore with a focus on animal husbandry, dairy, and fisheries.
She informed that the Government will launch a new sub-scheme of PM Matsya Sampada Yojana with a targeted investment of Rs 6,000 crore to further enable activities of fishermen, fish vendors, and micro & small enterprises, improve value chain efficiencies and expand the market.
For farmers, especially small and marginal farmers, and other marginalized sections, the government is promoting a cooperative-based economic development model. A new Ministry of Cooperation was formed with a mandate to realize the vision of ‘Sahakar Se Samriddhi’. To realize this vision, the government has already initiated the computerization of 63,000 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) with an investment of Rs 2,516 crore.
In consultation with all stakeholders and states, model bye-laws for PACS were formulated enabling them to become multipurpose PACS. A national cooperative database is being prepared for the country-wide mapping of cooperative societies.
Ms. Sitharaman said that Government will implement a plan to set up a massive decentralized storage capacity, which will help farmers store their produce and realize remunerative prices through sales at appropriate times. The government will also facilitate the setting up of a large number of multipurpose cooperative societies, primary fishery societies, and dairy cooperative societies in uncovered panchayats and villages in the next 5 years.
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