1. Agriculture World

Budget 2021-22: Self-sufficiency over Pulses & Oilseeds Needs Attention in forthcoming Union Budget

Abhijeet Banerjee
Abhijeet Banerjee

Government’s objective of making India self-sufficiency in pulses production is close to realty now. The output of these leguminous crops has been going up in recent years. As a result out nation faces lesser import burden consequently year on year. Surely one should be cheering on this development.

However the story is not the same for the oilseed sector since the import bills of edible oils are ever rising because of insufficient domestic production of the respective oilseeds, followed by growing consumption(on the back of the population expansion). Statistics say that the import bill in 2019 was close toUSD 10 billion, which is a matter of concern for government – especially when India had nearly attained self-sufficiency in edible oils in the early 1990’s.

Therefore the Union Government should consider a targeted approach, through the Technology Missions on Oilseeds, as done in the 1980’s.In order to make Indian agriculture atma-nirbhar or self-reliant, a mission driven approach for both the crop segmentsis desirable, therefore this subject should be one of the focus inthe 2021-2022 budget.

Another area needing attention in the Union Budget will be the emphasis on promotion of natural and organic farming. The demand for safe and nutritious food items is expected to rise, as a larger number of health conscious peoplewill be keen to improve their immune systems.

Under this scenario, a special mission/scheme could be launched to finance or provide state government some incentives, for taking initiatives in the agro-ecological aspects. Incentives can also be provided for crop diversification in such farming systems, where they are ecologically unsustainable. The Government can also focus towards supporting the diversification to resilient and nutritious crops like sorghum/millets and pulses, through attractive financial schemes.

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