The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addressed a webinar on positive impact of Union Budget 2022 in Agriculture sector. He discussed the ways in which the Budget will contribute to strengthening agriculture sector. The Webinar was focused on ‘Smart Agriculture’- Strategies for implementation. Concerned Union Ministers, representatives of state governments, representatives from industry and academia and farmers through various Krishi Vigyan Kendras were present on the occasion.
At the outset, the Prime Minister noted the third anniversary of the launch of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi. “This scheme has become a strong support for the small farmers of the country. Under the scheme, almost 1.75 lakh crore rupees have been given to 11 crore farmers”, he said. The Prime Minister talked about many new systems spanning from seed to market and also about the reforms in the old systems in the agriculture sector. “In just 6 years agriculture budget has been increased manifold. Agriculture loans for farmers were also increased by two and half times in the last 7 years”, he added. He pointed out that during the difficult period of the pandemic, 3 crore farmers were given Kisan Credit Cards (KCC) as part of the special drive and the facility of KCC was extended to farmers engaged in Animal Husbandry and Fisheries. Micro irrigation network has also been strengthened to great benefit of the small farmers, he said.
Due to these efforts, he said, farmers are giving record production and new records have been created in MSP purchases too. Due to encouragement to organic farming, said the Prime Minister, market for organic products has reached 11000 crore, with export rising to more than 7000 crore rupees from 2000 crore rupees 6 years ago.
The Prime Minister elaborated on the seven ways in which the Budget proposes to make agriculture modern and smart. Firstly, The target is to undertake natural farming on mission mode within 5 kms on both the banks of the Ganges. Secondly, Modern technology in agriculture and horticulture will be made available to the farmers. Thirdly, Emphasis has been laid on strengthening Mission Oil Palm to reduce the import of edible oil. Fourthly, new logistics arrangements will be made through PM Gati-Shakti plan for the transportation of agricultural products. Fifth solution in the Budget is better organization of agri-waste management and increasing farmers’ income through waste to energy solutions. Sixthly, more than 1.5 lakh post offices will provide services like regular banking so that farmers are not troubled. Seventh, Agri research and education syllabus will be changed as per demands of modern times with regard to skill development and human resource development.
The Prime Minister noted year 2023 being recognized as International Year of Millets and called upon the corporate world to come forward in branding and promoting Indian millets. He also asked major Indian missions abroad to organize seminars and other promotional activities to popularize the quality and benefits of Indian millets. The Prime Minister also asked for leveraging increasing awareness for environmental friendly lifestyle and resulting market for natural and organic products. He exhorted the KVKs to create awareness for natural farming by adopting a village each for promotion of natural farming. .
Shri Modi emphasized the need for increased soil testing culture in India. Highlighting the government’s focus on the Soil Health Cards, he called upon the startups to come forwards to facilitate the practice of soil testing at regular interval.
Emphasizing innovations in the irrigation field, the Prime Minister underlined government’s focus on ‘per drop, more crop’. He said there are many possibilities for the corporate world in this too. He also mentioned the transformation that will be brought about by the Ken- Betwa link Pariyojana in Bundelkhand region. Shri Modi also reiterated the need to quickly complete the pending irrigation projects.
The Prime Minister stressed that Artificial intelligence is going to completely change the trend related to agriculture and farming in the 21st century. Increasing use of drones in farming is part of this change. “Drone technology will be available on a scale only when we promote agri-startups. In the last 3-4 years, more than 700 Agri Startups have been created in the country”, he added.
With regard to work in the sphere of post-harvest management, the Prime Minister said that the government has been trying to increase the scope of processed food and ensuring international standards of quality. “In this regard, along with the Kisan Sampada Yojana, the PLI scheme is important. The value chain also plays a big role in this. Therefore, a special Agriculture Infrastructure Fund of Rs 1 lakh crore has been created”, The Prime Minister pointed out.
The Prime Minister emphasized management of agri-residue (parali). “For this, some new measures have been taken in this budget, due to which carbon emission will be reduced and farmers will also get income”, he said. He also asked to explore ways of using agri-waste for packaging.
The Prime Minister also touched upon the potential in the field of ethanol where the government is moving ahead with a goal of 20 per cent blending. The blending has reached near 8 per cent compared to 1-2 per cent in 2014, he informed.
The Prime Minister dwelled on the role of the cooperative sector. He said “India’s cooperative sector is very vibrant. Be it sugar mills, fertilizer factories, dairies, loan arrangements, purchase of food grains, the participation of cooperative sector is huge. Our government has also created a new ministry related to it. Your goal should be how to turn cooperatives into a successful business enterprise.”