Budget seeks to perk up agriculture sector

Concepts like Kisan Rail, Kisan Udaan, Dhaanyalakshmi, 1 product 1 district set to lift rural economy.

Chennai/Pune: A sagging rural economy has been a pain point for the government. In order to perk up the rural economy, the Budget mooted a 16-point agenda for the agricultural sector which included catchy concepts like Kisan Rail, Kisan Udaan, Dhaanyalakshmi and ‘One Product One district’.

Overall, the Budget allocated Rs 2.83 lakh crore of which Rs 1.60 lakh crore is meant for agriculture, irrigation and allied activities and Rs 1.23 lakh crore for rural development and Panchayati Raj. Among some of the innovative ideas that can go a long way in logistics of agricultural products, the Indian Railways will set up a “Kisan Rail” – through PPP arrangements. This will be part of a seamless national cold supply chain for perishables, inclusive of milk, meat and fish.

Krishi Udaan will be launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on international and national routes. This will immensely help improve value realisation especially in North-East and tribal districts. Understanding the high farm-to-fork wastage levels in India, the Budget emphasized on building cold chain and warehousing network. “Our government will provide Viability Gap Funding for setting up such efficient warehouses at the block/taluk level. This can be achieved, where States can facilitate with land and are on a PPP mode. Food Corporation of India and Central Warehousing Corporation shall undertake such warehouse building on their land too,’ she said. Dhaanyalakshmi is another way to boost storage capabilities at village level. “As a backward linkage, a Village Storage scheme is proposed to be run by the Self Help Groups. This will provide farmers a good holding capacity and reduce their logistics cost. Women SHGs shall regain their position as “Dhaanya Lakshmi”,” she said. Financing on Negotiable Ware
housing Receipts (e-NWR), which has crossed more than `6,000 crore, will be integrated with e-NAM.

The government finds that prosperity to farmers can be ensured by making farming competitive. For this, farm markets need to be liberalised. Distortions in farm and livestock markets need to be removed. Purchase of farm produce, logistics and agri-services need copious investments.

Hence, the Budget proposed to encourage those State governments who undertake implementation of following model laws already issued by the Central government. These include, Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, 2016, Model Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2017 and Model Agricultural Produce and Livestock Contract Farming and Services (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2018.

In order to promote horticulture, ‘one product one district ‘ has been mooted wherein one district will focus on one horticulture product. “For better marketing and export, we propose supporting states which, adopting a cluster basis, will focus on “one product one district”,’ said the minister.

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