Agriculture continues to be the pulse of the Indian economy. Economic growth hinges on the performance of agriculture to a considerable extent through its backward and forward linkages.
According to Barclays, India’s economy continues to perform in key private services and agriculture. The State Bank of India (SBI) has also given an optimistic report recently.
The SBI research paper said that domestic consumption and investment stand to benefit from stronger prospects for agricultural and allied activities, strengthening business and consumer confidence, and strong credit growth.
During the Covid pandemic, especially when lockdown was imposed to contain its spread, agriculture contributed significantly to India’s economy.
An ambitious scheme
In an effort to provide a boost to this sector, the Union Government has initiated several steps across focus areas. Among the schemes are the ambitious Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) to provide farmers with some income support, assure crop insurance through the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, provide irrigation facilities under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, among others.
Meanwhile, access to institutional credit is being provided through Kisan Credit Card and other channels. Under the e-NAM initiative, markets across the entire nation are now open to farmers to enable them to get remunerative prices for their produce.
In 2014, the budget of agriculture was Rs. 25,000 crore, which today is more than Rs 1.25 lakh crore. In this year’s Budget, an important decision has been taken related to sugarcane farmers. Also, with the launch of the PM Pranam Yojana, states that reduce the use of chemical fertilizer will get additional help from the Centre.
Ensuring the MSP
The umbrella scheme Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay SanraksHan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA) ensures Minimum Support Price (MSP) to farmers for various Kharif and Rabi crops. It also helps to keep a robust procurement mechanism in place.
Farmers can buy fertilisers and seeds, implement soil testing, as well as avail useful information about farming techniques at more than 3.25 lakh fertiliser shops across, now known as, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samruddhi Kendras. Further, the introduction of ‘One Nation, One Fertiliser’ under the brand name of Bharat will facilitate an increase in the availability of fertilisers at reduced cost.
At the same time, to make Indian agriculture future-ready, initiatives like National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture, the promotion of scientific warehousing and the adoption of drone technologies have been undertaken.
The Government has also taken several steps to increase investment in the agriculture sector such as setting up an Agri-Tech Infrastructure Fund, promoting organic farming through Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, and creating a Long-Term Irrigation Fund and Micro Irrigation Fund.
Under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, entities such as farmers, startups, Government agencies and local bodies benefit from setting up eligible infrastructure projects. Under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) Scheme, grants-in-aid are given to state governments on the basis of the projects approved in the State Level Sanctioning Committee Meeting (SLSC).
Incidentally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently transferred the 13th installment of about Rs 16,800 crore under PM-KISAN through Direct Benefit Transfer to the bank accounts of more than eight crore beneficiary farmers across the country.
Such a huge amount has been debited directly. There is no middleman, no cut-commission and no corruption to eat into what is for the benefit of farmers. About Rs. 2.5 lakh crore has so far been deposited in the accounts of small farmers. “Of this, more than Rs. 50,000 crore has been deposited in the accounts of our sisters and mothers,” said the Prime Minister, adding that since 2014, the country has been continuously moving towards a transformational change in agriculture.
Exports of agricultural and processed food products in the meantime rose by 16 percent between April-November of the Financial Year 2022-23 in comparison to the corresponding period of 2021-22.
Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S) provisional data showed that overall export of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) increased by 16 per cent in terms of USD during AprilNovember 2022 to USD 17.43 billion from USD 15.07 billion over the same period of the last fiscal.
For the year 2022-23, an export target of $ 23.56 billion has been fixed for the agricultural and processed food products basket and an export of $ 17.435 billion has already been achieved in eight months of the current fiscal.
As per the DGCI&S provisional data, processed fruits and vegetables recorded a growth of 32.60 per cent (April-November 2022), while fresh fruits registered four per cent growth in comparison to corresponding months of the previous year.
Also, processed food products like cereals and miscellaneous processed items reported a growth of 28.29 per cent compared to the first eight months of the previous year.
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