19 January 2024, New Delhi: India is set to vote for a new government in April-May 2024. Two months before the elections, on 1st February 2024, the central government will be announcing the budget for the financial year 2024. This year’s budget holds a lot of political significance. Agriculture has always been a focus sector for the current government in power. Over the last few years the government has constantly increased the budget allocation to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare reaching Rs. 1.25 lakh crore in FY23. To have maximum utilization of the budget allocated under various schemes, the ministry is also running a saturation drive to reach the maximum number of farmers across the country through ‘Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra’.
With a constant increase in the budget over the last few years, the Agriculture Ministry has lagged in utilizing the additional allocation. As per a report of the Agriculture Ministry titled ‘Accounts at a Glance 2022-23’, the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare surrendered Rs. 20,000+ crore of its annual allocation.
As per sources, the government in FY2024 plans to increase allocation in direct benefit transfer schemes (DBT), scaleup schemes related to machinery subsidies, and increase procurement on minimum support prices, especially for pulses.
Budget Allocation for the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (in Rs crore)
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Making Indian Agriculture Resilient
Rajesh Aggarwal, Managing Director, Insecticides India Limited speaking on expectations from FY24 Budget said, “The industry looks to the government to cultivate an environment to bring in the research-based latest technology products for crop protection and nutrition within the reach of even small and marginal farmers. This interim budget just before India goes to vote on the new government is expected to have political shades as well. Allocation of funds to the different development schemes in the agriculture sector for farmers and particularly for entrepreneurship in agriculture is what the industry is looking forward to. The initiation of a Crop Diversification Programme is poised to enhance agriculture’s resilience. Finally, the successful implementation of the PM-AASHA initiative is considered pivotal in stabilizing farmers’ incomes and setting the stage for a sustainable and technologically advanced farming landscape. As the 2024 budget approaches, the agricultural community eagerly awaits measures addressing immediate concerns while laying the foundation for a resilient and innovative future.”
Speaking on FY23 overview and budget expectations Sanjiv Kanwar, Managing Director, Yara South Asia said, “We welcome the direction and scaling up of support for the schemes for the farmers, especially across credit and insurance, as well as for the agriculture accelerator fund. This will be positive for the agriculture and farm sector and will spur growth. Overall, the sustained focus of the government on ease of doing business for the industry is welcome. While we understand this is an interim budget, there is an opportunity to enhance the sustainability of the agriculture sector in India through policies that encourage greater use of solutions such as bio-stimulants, as well as enhancing nutritional sufficiency in soil health. We plan to work with stakeholders in the government and industry to build consensus on these areas, enhance choice for farmers, and simplify regulations.”
Sharing budget expectations of the mechanization sector Narinder Mittal, Managing Director, CNH Industrial India & SAARC said, “We anticipate a forward-looking Union Budget this year as well, as the government has made the agriculture sector one of its main priorities. In order to prepare the agricultural sector for the future, we hope to see measures that can further aid in the adoption of innovation and technology to improve agri-mechanization in our country. Initiatives to improve farmers’ skills and understanding of modern farming methods, financial literacy, and other relevant aspects will be crucial for the industry in the long run.”
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