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How the Agriculture Sector Reacted to Union Budget 2023-24?

Here's how agriculture experts and stakeholders reacted to the Budget 2023 announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday.

Shruti Kandwal
Here’s what some agri-experts and stakeholders have to say about the Union Budget 2023.
Here’s what some agri-experts and stakeholders have to say about the Union Budget 2023.

Nirmala Sitharaman, the Union Finance Minister, delivered her final full budget before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections on Wednesday in Parliament. Budget 2023 placed a strong emphasis on increasing government capital expenditure, fiscal stability, and attractive incentives and rebates under the new income tax regime.

The Union Budget 2023 received mixed reactions from the members of Parliament with several opposition parties arguing that the budget has given no relief to the poor, has not offered much for the electorally key middle-class barring the “minor” tax relief, and has no concrete proposals for employment generation and to tackle price rise.

Despite all the arguments regarding the budget, there were some major steps taken toward the agriculture sector. From new schemes to providing farmers assistance to adopt natural farming, several announcements were made to boost the farm sector.

Here’s what some agri-experts and stakeholders have to say about the Union Budget 2023.

RG Agarwal, Chairman, Dhanuka Group, emphasized how the budget 2023-24 is in line with the Prime Minister’s vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat and said, “It has laid greater emphasis on infrastructure development which will have a multiplier effect across sectors including the rural economy. The announcement to launch a comprehensive scheme to increase domestic production of oilseeds to reduce the country’s dependence on the import of edible oil is indeed a welcome step. India has successfully withstood the global food crisis and the budget focus on increasing technological intervention in agriculture value chains will enable us to overcome any future global uncertainties. The proposed PPP (Public Private Partnership) mode scheme to promote the delivery of digital and hi-tech services in the agriculture sector will benefit all stakeholders including farmers as well as agribusinesses subject to better coordination among different stakeholders both public and private. The initiative announced for the cooperative sector will also benefit the country immensely as cooperatives have a widespread presence in rural India. Needless to say, the budget has well and truly set the tone for India’s Amrit Kaal.”

It was announced that the digital public infrastructure for agriculture will be set up as an open source, open standard, and interoperable public group. Durgesh Chandra, Secretary General, CropLife India shared, "It is extremely delightful to witness the initiation of digital public infrastructure for agriculture aiding the crop protection industry in the Union Budget 2023-24. The Government’s push towards Digitalization of Agriculture coupled with the focus on Hi-Tech services would enhance rural entrepreneurship and infuse youth back into the farmlands, boosting productivity.”

Commenting on the Union Budget 2022-23, Binod Anand, a member MSP committee said, “The budget for 2023-24 is towards the upliftment of farmers and Rural Development oriented.  It has laid greater emphasis on Sustainable Agri infrastructure development with PM- PRANAM and GoBardhan schemes. Cooperative has been given more emphasis than corporate ministry with higher allocation which will have a multiplier effect across sectors including the rural economy. The announcement to launch a comprehensive scheme to increase Millet Production as Anna Scheme is indeed a welcome step. India has successfully withstood the global nutritional food crisis and the budget focus on increasing technological intervention in agriculture value chains will enable us to overcome any future global uncertainties. The proposed PPP (Public Private Partnership) mode scheme to promote the delivery of digital and hi-tech services in the agriculture sector will benefit all stakeholders including farmers as well as agribusinesses. Needless to say, the budget has well and truly set the tone for India’s Amrit Kaal.”

Arun Raste, MD & CEO, NCDEX said, "The Union Budget 2023-24 while maintaining fiscal prudence, is promoting consumption-led growth.  From the rural perspective, the Decentralization of warehousing capacity that the finance minister has talked about is a major decision and will play an important role in rationalizing the balance between demand and supply. NCDEX works with FPOs and small traders who use regulated warehouses and standard decentralized warehousing will help the country to eliminate a lot of wastage. However, this will have a greater impact if the WDRA regulation gets parliamentary approval soon, and eNWR replaces warehouse receipts.

The budgetary thrust on millets will help improve farmers' income by extending their market reach. Promotion of millets and market-based instruments like derivatives on exchanges will ensure remunerative prices for farmers and more farmers will be encouraged to grow millets this year of millets."

Dr. KC Ravi, Chief Sustainability Officer, Syngenta India Pvt Ltd, stated “The Union Budget is aimed at making Indian Agriculture future ready. Many of the measures announced, while on the one hand are inclusive in encouraging rural youth and rural farm workers, on the other looks at digitization and critical infrastructure needs like warehousing for making our farmers not only productive but also profitable. The Budget will cause excellent ripple effects and is definitely to catapult the agriculture ecosystem to greater heights by giving more credit support to farmers and also infusing a fine blend of policy and financial outlays to strengthen the entire rural ecosystem.”

“For the first time in recent years, agriculture has been looked at through the prism of environment and sustainability in a union budget. By focusing on biodiversity and sustainability, among other things, the Union budget 2023 has made its intent clear on prioritizing green growth at all costs.

Dr. Ajay Ranka, CMD, Zydex Industries on Budget 2023-24 said, “The move to support one crore farmers to adopt natural farming will revolutionize agricultural practices in India in addition to increasing productivity and income. The impetus in the form of boosting production of disease-free high-value horticulture crops, building open-source digital public infrastructure for farmers, and an Agricultural Accelerator Fund will ensure innovation and sustainability as we transform to high-value agricultural products.

Lastly, the induction of the PM Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment, and Amelioration of Mother Earth” to incentivize States and Union Territories to promote alternative fertilizers and establishment of 10,000 Bio-Input Resource Centres to create a national-level distributed micro-fertilizer and pesticide manufacturing network are well-thought-out measures that will immensely benefit farmers as they start transitioning to natural farming methods.

Overall, Union Budget 2023 has taken a holistic view of inclusive growth and economic development."

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