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"Govt Working Towards Making Domestic, Global Markets Accessible to Farmers": PM Modi

The government is working to make farmers' access to domestic & international markets, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on February 24, highlighting the Center's focus on the agricultural sector.

Shivam Dwivedi
Prime Minister emphasized that the nation's reliance on the outside world for food security
Prime Minister emphasized that the nation's reliance on the outside world for food security

The government is seeking ideas and suggestions for the successful implementation of the initiatives announced in the Union Budget 2023 during the second of a series of 12 post-budget webinars.

PM Modi emphasized the importance the agricultural sector has received in both this year's budget and the budgets of the previous 8 to 9 years. In 2014, the agricultural budget was less than Rs 25,000 crore; according to him, it is now more than Rs 1.25 lakh crore. The Prime Minister emphasized that the nation's reliance on the outside world for food security was due to the fact that India's agricultural sector has been in distress for a considerable amount of time since independence. He emphasized how Indian farmers changed the situation, enabling their country to become self-sufficient and capable of exporting food grains. The Prime Minister highlighted the efforts of the government to open up domestic and international markets for farmers by stating that "Today India is exporting many types of agricultural products."

He added that when it comes to exports or self-sufficiency, India's goal should not be restricted to rice or wheat. The Prime Minister highlighted the imports in the agricultural sector by citing expenditures of Rs 17,000 crore for the import of pulses in 2021–2022; Rs 25,000 crore for the import of value-added food products; and Rs 1.5 lakh crore for the import of edible oils in 2021–2022 as examples.

The total value of all agricultural imports, he continued, was somewhere around Rs 2 lakh crore. In order to ensure that the country becomes "atmanirbhar" and that the money used for imports reaches our farmers, the prime minister emphasized that numerous decisions are continuously being made in the budget to support the agricultural sector. He cited raising the Minimum Support Price (MSP), encouraging the production of pulses, expanding the number of food processing parks, and pursuing the goal of becoming entirely self-sufficient in terms of edible oil as examples.

The Prime Minister emphasized that until the issues pertaining to the agricultural sector are resolved, the objective of full development cannot be attained. He noted that private innovation and investment are avoiding this industry, which results in low youth participation in agriculture in India compared to other industries that see active participation and growth.

PM Modi emphasized that numerous announcements were made in the current budget to close this gap. He mentioned the Digital Public Infrastructure platform in the agriculture sector and compared it to the open UPI platform while pointing out the vast opportunities for investment and innovation in the agri-tech fields.

He claimed that this year's budget included tax reliefs for the cooperative sector, which will help newly formed cooperative societies involved in manufacturing. He further stated that cooperative societies will not be charged TDS for cash withdrawals up to Rs 3 crore. The tax exemption granted to payments made by the sugar cooperative prior to 2016–17 was also mentioned by the prime minister, who claimed that it would provide the cooperative with benefits worth Rs 10,000 crore.

The prime minister emphasized that industries that did not previously have cooperatives, like dairy and fisheries, will now greatly benefit farmers. The Prime Minister revealed that the fish production in the nation has increased by about 70 lakh metric tonnes in the last 8 to 9 years, shedding light on the enormous opportunities in fisheries for our farmers.

He also discussed a new sub-component for the PM Matsya Sampada Yojana that has been announced at a cost of Rs 6,000 crore and will help the market and the value chain for fisheries. The PM Pranam Yojana and Gobardhan Yojana are government initiatives aimed at promoting organic farming and reducing chemical-based farming, respectively.

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