New agricultural programmes are provided under the priority areas of inclusive development and green growth
New agricultural programmes are provided under the priority areas of inclusive development and green growth

During the Covid- 19 pandemic, Government of India ensured that no one goes to bed hungry, with a scheme to supply free food grains to over 80 crore persons for 28 months. Continuing central government commitment to ensure food and nutritional security, implementing from 1st January 2023, a scheme to supply free food grain to all Antyodaya and priority households for the next one year, under PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yogana (PMGKAY). The entire expenditure of about 2 lakh crore will be borne by the Central Government.

(A)Agriculture and Allied Sector

Budget 2023 speech delivered by the Finance Minister, she said that the budget 2023 is made on following seven priorities.

  1. Inclusive Development

  2. Reaching the Last Mile

  3. Infrastructure and Investment

  4. Unleashing the Potential

  5. Green Growth

  6. Youth Power

  7. Financial Sector

And these seven priorities complement each other like saptarishi guiding us through Amrit Kaal.

Government of India is planning to build digital infrastructure for agriculture as an open source, inter operable public good and open standard. Digital public infrastructure enables farmers centric solution. Like farmers information of services for crop estimation, market intelligence, and support for growth of agri-tech industry and start-ups.

New agricultural programmes are provided under the priority areas of inclusive development and green growth. Digital infrastructure for agriculture will be built as an open source, open standard and inter operable public good.

There is lot that digital technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and Machine Learning (ML) can do for enhancing agricultural productivity. This will enable inclusive farmer-centric solutions through relevant information services for crop planning, plant protection, improved access to inputs, credit, insurance and market intervention. The announcement in the budget 2023-24 will give a push for the programmes for the digital transformation of agriculture.

(B) Agriculture Accelerator Fund

Government of India is planning to set up agriculture accelerator fund to encourage new agri-startup. Objective of this fund is to encourage young entrepreneurs to bring out new innovative ideas and easy solution to problems which are daily faced by farmers.

Agriculture accelerator fund would help to bring new technologies in the field of agriculture, which will transform agricultural practices, productivity and profitability.

(C) Enhancing Cotton Crop Productivity

Government of India is going to adopt new methods for enhancing cotton crop productivity, by cluster chain and value based approach through public private partnership.

Government of India is aimed to make collaboration between farmers, state and industry for input supplies, extension services, and market linkages.

(D) Atmanirbhar Horticulture Clean Plant Program

Government of India will launch an Atmanirbhar Clean Plant Program to boost availability of disease-free, Atmanirbhar Horticulture Clean Plant Program for getting excellent quality planting materials for high value horticultural crops.

Even though the horticulture crops occupy only 13 percent of the cultivated area in the country, the sector contributes nearly 30 percent of the agricultural GDP of the country.

Timely availability of high quality seeds and planning materials is vital for enhancing productivity of these crops and profitability of farmers.

(E) Global Hub for Millets: ‘Shree Anna’

Honorable Finance Minister mentioned that “India is at the forefront of popularizing Millets, whose consumption for nutrition, food security and welfare of farmers.”

India is the largest producer and second largest exporter of ‘Shree Anna’ in the world. Indian farmers grow several types of ‘Shree Anna’ such as Jowar, Ragi, Bajra, Kuttu, Ramdana, Kangni, Kutki, Kodo, Cheena and Sama.

These crops have a number of health benefits and have been an integral part of our food habit for centuries. On floor of parliament, Honourable Finance Minister acknowledged with pride the huge service done by small farmers in contributing to the health of fellow citizens by growing these ‘Shree Anna’.

To achieve the goals of making 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.

Besides promoting millet recipes and menus, the government must support small farmer oriented programmes for a millet revolution in the country. The FM announced that India will be transformed as a global hub for millets.

(F) Agriculture Credit

Budget 2023 announced that agriculture credit target will be increased to 20 lakh crore. Agriculture credit budget focus on animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries. Government of India will launch a new sub-scheme of PM Matsya Sampada Yojana with targeted investment of 6000 crore to further enable activities of fishermen, fish vendors and micro & small enterprises, improve value chain efficiencies and expand the market.

Finance Minister also said that agriculture credit promoting co-operative based economic development model for especially small, marginal farmers and marginalised sections. Ministry of cooperation was formed with a mandate to realise the vision of ‘Sahakar Se Samriddhi’. To realise this vision, the government has already initiated computerisation of 63,000 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) with an investment of 2516 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 country-wide mapping of cooperative societies.

The government will implement a plan to set up massive decentralised storage capacity. This will help farmers to avoid wastage of farm produce and realise remunerative prices through sale at appropriate time. The union government will also facilitate setting up of large number of multipurpose cooperative societies, primary fishery societies and dairy cooperative societies in uncovered panchayats and villages in next 5 years.

The agricultural credit target for 2023-24 will be raised to Rs. 20 lakh crore from Rs. 18 lakh crore for the current financial year. However, the fertilizer subsidy for 2024-25 has been slashed to Rs. 175148.48 crore from Rs. 225261.62 in the revised budget estimate for 2022-23.

(G) Economic Empowerment of Agriculture Women

Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana National Rural Livelihood Mission has achieved remarkable success by mobilizing rural women into 81 lakh Self Help Groups. Central Government will enable these groups to reach the next stage of economic empowerment through formation of large producer enterprises of collectives with each having several thousand members and managed professionally. They will be helped with supply of raw materials and for better design, quality, branding and marketing of their products. 

(H) Setbacks

The allocation for PM Kisan Scheme has been reduced to Rs. 60,000 crore from the 2022-23 budget allocation of Rs. 68,000 crore.

In 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to double the farmers income by 2022. But the budget is totally silent on the issue. Two market intervention schemes to ensure remunerative prices to farmers, the PSS-MIS (Price Support and Market Intervention) and PM ASHA are totally wiped out in 2023-24 budget. Even the share of agriculture in the overall budget has fallen sharply in the 2023-24 budget.

Public investment in agriculture is declining over the years with negative implications for research, extension and development activities in the government sector.

Climate change poses a serious threat to agricultural production, food and nutritional security of the country. Even though, the FM has announced two ambitious programmes for mitigating the impact of climate change in agriculture, no matching fund has been specifically earmarked in the budget.

In the last financial year, marine products recorded the highest export growth, benefitting farmers in the coastal states. For further enhancing the export competitiveness of this sector, duty has been reduced on key inputs for domestic manufacturing of Shrimp feed.

The decision to increase basic customs duty on compounded rubber from 10 to 25 percent or Rs. 30 whichever is lower will benefit the crises ridden rubber farmers.

(I) Green Credit Aided Sustainable Farming

Green credit aided growth through sustainable farming is aimed to bring the farming more viable, environmentally safe, natural farming over a period of time targeting measures to reduce global carbon foot prints. India is going strongly with granting credit for cleaner actions aiming to encourage behavioural change in the country. First step is to advocate ‘environmentally conscious life style’ among the people inorder to reduce global carbon footprints. By this action we shall implement The Green Credit Programme under the Environment Act. by the LSG bodies, SHG, Companies and individuals and help mobilise resources for activities in relation to India’s pitch for LiFE (lifestyle for environment) both locally and globally. Green growth is one of the seven priorities called ‘Saptarishi’ leading India through the ‘Amrit Kaal’ of the Government.

The 2023 Budget proposed a green credit programme and many other proposals like tremendous backup to sustainable farming through PM-Pranam, in addition to the multi crore energy programme. The PM programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment and Amelioration of Mother Earth (PM-Pranam) to incentivise states and union territories to promote alternative fertilizers and balanced use of chemicals. This is the major step to support the soil health against the indiscriminate use of chemicals. Which in turn helps to improve the soil physical, chemical and biological properties. 500 ‘Waste to Wealth Plants’ to be established under GOBARdhan# scheme for promoting circular economy.

Sustainable ecosystem management / development MISHTI to be taken up for Mangrove plantation along the coastline, Amrit Dharohar to be implemented for optimal usage of wetlands. Government is also planning to bring and facilitate one crore farmers to adopt natural farming over the next three years with 10000 bio-input resource centers.

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