Budget can be effective means to bring change in agriculture: PM

In just six years the agriculture budget has increased manifold and agriculture loans for farmers have also increased, PM Modi said
Last Updated 24 February 2022, 10:46 IST

Emphasising that the agriculture budget allocation this year is much more than previous years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said it is aimed at the complete modernisation of the sector and suggested seven pointers from the budget provisions.

In just six years the agriculture budget has increased manifold and agriculture loans for farmers have also increased by two and half times in the last seven years, the Prime Minister said, and added that the preparation for multiple schemes that have been discussed during this budget need preparation, for which the month of March can be utilized and then, "start rolling out right from day one in the new financial year."

If all this is done properly, the budget will not just be a numbers game but, in reality, can be an effective means to bring about change in life, change in agriculture," he said while addressing a webinar on the positive impact of Union Budget 2022 in the Agriculture sector.

The seven important pointers from the budget that Modi mentioned started with the provision for natural farming along the Ganga banks on both sides up to five kms, including a push for herbal, medicinal plants and also for horticulture; infusion of modern technology for improving agriculture and horticulture practices; focus on Mission Oil Palm and encouragement to other oil seeds too for lessen the import burden on edible oil and incorporating new schemes under PM Gati Shakti for transportation of agriculture goods.

The other three pointers were how agri-waste management will be better organised, how waste to energy solutions will not just help bringdown carbon emissions but also increase farmers' income; the regular bank-like facilities that the farmers will get from across 1.5 lakh post offices across India and, last but not the least, the need for changes to be brought in for investment in agri-research along with skill development, human resources development, etc., in the education sector.

Recounting the work done by his government in previous years, Modi recalled how three years ago the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi was started, and it has benefitted almost 11 crore farmers, most of them small farmers, till date and Rs 1.7 lakh crore has been disbursed till now under the scheme. He also talked about how his government has brought in smartness in all things related to agriculture, 'Beej se Bazar Tak' (from seed stage to market stage) by improving the systems over the last seven years.

The Prime Minister also appealed to the private sector to invest in the agriculture sector and described the multiple opportunities. For instance, soil health cards are prepared by the government and there can be private labs everywhere where the farmer can get his soil tested and work on fertilizers accordingly. "We need a vast network of soil testing labs just as today we have pathology labs for human health," he said.

Modi also recounted achievements such as micro-irrigation, which is a medium to bring down input cost and improve production and something which also helps the cause of the environment. "Saving water in today's times is a service to mankind. More crop per drop is our motto. This field too has immense possibilities," he appealed to the private sector.

Ethanol blending, agri-startups, agri-waste management, logistics, transport of agriculture produce, food processing, drones for agriculture and farm equipment on rent are some of the fields that the Prime Minister pointed out wherein private investors, especially young entrepreneurs can enter to benefit from immense potentialities.

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(Published 24 February 2022, 10:46 IST)

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