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Budget 2022-23: Sowing seeds of digi-farming

Vibha Sharma

New Delhi, February 1

Aiming to give digital push to the farm sector, the Union Government, in the Budget presented today, proposed delivery of high-tech services to agriculturists in public-private partnership mode and use of ‘Kisan Drones’ for multiple activities.

Even as the FM laid emphasis on promoting agri diversification through adoption of technology in allied sectors, experts questioned her ‘silence’ on the assurance made to farmers by BJP top guns on doubling their income by ’22

The government laid emphasis on diversification through farm-based start-ups and promoting chemical-free natural farming throughout the country, with special focus on 5-km stretches on the banks of the Ganga in the first stage of the scheme.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government would promote the use of ‘Kisan Drones’ for crop assessment, digitisation of land records and spraying of insecticides. A fund with blended capital, raised under co-investment model, will also be facilitated through NABARD to finance start-ups for agriculture and rural enterprise, relevant for farm produce value chain.

“The activities for these start-ups will include support for FPOs (farmer producer organisations), machinery for farmers on rental basis at farm level and developing technology, including IT-based support,” she said. Sitharaman said the government would procure 1,208 lakh tonnes of wheat and paddy from 163 lakh farmers at minimum support price (MSP) during the current fiscal. “About Rs 2.37 lakh crore will be paid directly into the accounts of farmers as MSP,” she said.

As 2023 has been announced as the International Year of Millets, she said, the government would support post-harvest support for enhancing domestic consumption of millet products. The FM said to reduce the dependence on imports of edible oils, a rationalised and comprehensive scheme to increase domestic production of oilseeds would be implemented.

There, however, was no word in the Budget speech on doubling the income of farmers by 2022, as had been “assured” by top BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “This is really disappointing,” said farm experts, also pointing to “reduced” MSP and other subsidies.

Asserting that all expectations from the Budget had “come crashing down”, agriculture expert Devinder Sharma said: “They should have told us what happened to the assurance of doubling farm income by 2022. What about legalising MSP? Rather, the MSP allocation has been cut from Rs 2.48 lakh crore to 2.37 lakh crore,” he maintained.

Prof Sudhir Panwar, agriculture expert and former member of the Uttar Pradesh Planning Commission, said after the repeal of the three farm laws, the government “seemed to have preferred the status quo approach”.

Scheme Allocation

Rs6,75,000 cr: PM-KISAN
Rs15,500 cr: Crop insurance
Rs7,183 cr: Krishonnati Yojana
Rs10,433 cr: Rashtriya Krishi Vikas
Rs1,500 cr: Market Intervention

Plan for land record management

States will be encouraged to adopt Unique Land Parcel Identification Number to facilitate IT-based management of records. The linkage with the National Generic Document Registration System with the ‘One Nation, One Registration Software’ will be promoted.

Budget break-up

Rs1,32,513 cr for the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, a raise of 4.5% compared to last fiscal
Rs6,407.31 cr for the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, a 44% hike
Rs2,941.99 cr for Food Processing Industries, raised 2.25 times for the next fiscal


The provisions made for agricultural diversification, promotion of organic farming, Kisan Drones, irrigation and agricultural research will bring about a paradigm shift in the farm sector. — Narendra Singh Tomar, Agriculture Minister

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