The Budget focuses on strengthening the sector financially through funding, better infrastructure, climate-smart technology and an ecosystem that fosters productivity and employability
Agriculture, with mainstay for more than 50 per cent of the workforce, remains a critical sector for providing sustainable growth for the Indian economy and food security at large. The recently announced Union Budget for agriculture reinforces the Government’s commitments towards nudging short-term growth and propelling long-term ecosystem level changes.
The agriculture sector is prone to inherent challenges owing to small land holdings and limited capacity to adopt capital intensive modern technologies. This re-emphasises the need to adequately equip farmers with technological, credit, storage and marketing interventions. The Government has given significant thrust to these factors in the Budget.
Enhancing the agricultural credit target to Rs 20 lakh crore, which is over 11 per cent in comparison to the last year’s allocation, is laudable. This was a necessary step as credit is one of the critical components influencing the factors of production, thus per unit output and realisation.
The Union Budget has clearly identified technology as the lever of change for effective decision making and planning. Announcement of building a national Agristack as public good is a path breaking move. This will enable agricultural value chain players take data-backed decisions and will also assist in serving the farming community efficiently.
The Government also laid emphasis on creating a decentralised storage capacity, which was a much-needed policy step to help farmers realise better prices and reduce wastage. Focus on creating a national cooperative database and setting up large multi-purpose cooperative societies in all uncovered Panchayats and villages in the next five years is a welcome step.
With agri startups emerging as partners in innovation of the agriculture sector, the Government has announced the Agriculture Accelerator Fund to increase productivity and encourage young entrepreneurs in rural areas. The fund will aim at bringing affordable solutions to agriculture, which, in turn, will also contribute to increasing profits.
The Union Budget showcases the Government’s commitment to put millet on every plate. Aiming to make India a global hub for millets is the best way to commemorate the International Year of Millets.
The Budget promotes a forward-looking vision for agriculture and focuses on strengthening the sector financially through funding, better infrastructure, climate-smart technology and an ecosystem that fosters productivity and employability. These initiatives are sure to give agriculture a boost, making India all set to become the agricultural powerhouse to the world.