Budget to lay focus on farm infra, productivity

Budget to lay focus on  farm infra, productivity

In the wake of the farm sector growth stuttering below 2 per cent, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s second full-year Budget is likely to focus on steps to accelerate agriculture productivity and enhance farm infrastructure.

This was also reflected in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at the Start-Up India conference on Saturday, when he asked the young entrepreneurs to think of providing affordable infrastructure to stop farm wastage.

“When I talk of startup, I often think, can our youth work towards developing farm infrastructure with affordable technology that can stop wastage of agricultural produce. Our farmers who produce fruits and vegetables live far from the city limits. By the time, their produce comes to the point of sale, it perishes. I wonder, if we can give some modern technology, modern infrastructure to them,” Modi had said.

According to the recently released Mid-Year Economic Review, in India, about 30 per cent of farm produce is wasted every year for want of storage, transportation, cold chain and other infrastructure facilities.

As per an industry survey, each grain bag is handled at least six times before it is finally opened for processing which leads to higher storage and transportation charges, and also adds to wastage of food grain during transit and handling.

The NITI Aayog has already advocated the need to enhance private sector involvement in agriculture, which can support public investment in the sector. Agricultural productivity in India is cyclical, which means a high growth period is routinely followed by a drop. Agriculture,which grew at 4 per cent in the 11th Plan period, has dropped below 2 per cent in the 12th Plan period.

Meanwhile, the government has launched two back-to-back schemes — Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, with an outlay of Rs 50,000 crore over five years, and crop insurance schemes.

Farming fortunes

    Budget to emphasise on improving agriculture sector
    Agro productivity and infra development need of the hour
    Narendra Modi seeks startup aid to help farm sector
    The government says it is committed to help farmers

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