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Agri sector gets Rs 1.32 L Cr; PM Kisan allocated Rs 68,000 Cr

India inc describe it as a growth-oriented env-friendly budget

New Delhi, Feb: The budgetary outlay for the agriculture sector during 2022-23 has been pegged at Rs 1.32 lakh crore, with the Indian Inc hailing it as a “balanced” financial document that focusses to overcome the pandemic blues in the sector.

“It is a balanced budget that is focused on infrastructure boost, supporting agriculture sector with incentives and technological fillip,” said managing director of Godrej Agrovet Balram Yadav in a statement.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday presented the Union Budget for 2022-23 that has emphasized natural farming, revamping agri-related course curriculum in agricultural institutes and adoption of technology.

“An important step has been taken for the welfare of the farmers along with the faith of the people of India, the cleaning of Mother Ganga. In the five states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, along the banks of the Ganges, natural farming will be encouraged,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his post-budget reaction.

In his reaction, Yadav said the budget looks at overcoming the pangs of pandemic and focussing on the next 25 years of growth, even as some of their expectations did not find mention in the Minister’s speech.

“River interlinking projects, Ken-Betwa link will improve farming and livelihood facilities to farmers and the local population. The decision to revise syllabi of agricultural universities and use of Kisan drones for crop assessment, digitization of land records, spraying of insect pesticides is a step in the right direction to modernize the agriculture sector. Introduction of post offices into the core banking sector will provide an impetus to financial inclusion in the rural parts of the country,” he said.

The total allocation for the agriculture sector in 2021-22 was Rs 1.23 lakh crore, compared to 1.16 lakh crore in the revised estimate in 2020-21 and 1.34 lakh crore in the budgetary estimate. The PM Kisan scheme has got Rs 68,000 crore during the 2022-23 budgetary estimate as opposed to Rs 67,500 crore in the revised estimate of 2021-22.

Agritech investor Omnivore welcomed the budget proposal, saying that the FM has made a pragmatic approach to highlight the importance of sustainable agriculture in face of global warming and climate change.

“The Union budget is steering the country into a greener future. Acknowledging the impact of global warming, the rising cost of cultivation and concerns around human and planetary health, sustainable agriculture has been pushed to the centre stage. It is an important step towards climate-proofing Indian agriculture and securing the livelihoods of millions of smallholders in the country,” said Jinesh Shah, Managing Partner, Omnivore.

He said that a blended capital fund under NABARD is also interesting as it can provide the FPOs with much-needed assistance. Keeping up with the times, the government’s support for drone use in agriculture and stressing the role of start-ups in facilitating ‘drone shakti’ is a great leap forward for driving precision farming at scale.

Talking about Kisan drones, Chief Executive Officer of CropLife India Asitava Sen, an association of 15 R&D driven crop science companies, said the Government’s push towards digitalization of agriculture coupled with the focus on hitech services would enhance rural entrepreneurship and infuse youth back in the farmlands, boosting the income of the farmers”.

On the other hand, agri-input analyst Prabhudas Lilladher said the thrust on chemical-free natural farming will have negative growth for the agrichemical companies. However, he said that the allocation of Rs 2.37 lakh crore towards MSP procurement will give a push to the growth momentum of the agri-input companies.  Likewise, he said the use of drones for agriculture purposes will benefit a few firms.



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