India is an agricultural and farming country, with farming employing the majority of the rural people. Recognizing this, our finance minister, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, in the Union Budget 2023-2024 extending her greater support to the agricultural sector and announced plans to expand digital technology in order to strengthen the country’s agricultural sector, encourage natural farming, and fund rural start-ups. The government led by Narendra Modi also promised set up an agriculture accelerator fund to nurture start-ups in rural areas.
The total budget of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, including Agricultural Education and Research, is about Rs 1.25 lakh crore this time which is an increase of ₹455 crore. Out of this, provision of Rs. 60,000 crore has been made for the Modi Government’s ambitious scheme, – the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan). There are about 86 per cent small farmers in the country, who have been greatly benefited through the Kisan Credit Card (KCC). This time, Rs 23,000 crores has been allocated for this, to enable our farmer brothers and sisters to continue to avail its benefit. In addition, the Budget announced a new sub-scheme under the PM Matsya Sampada Yojana with a target investment of 6,000 crore to improve the fishing value chain.
The government said in Budget 2023 that it will help 1 crore farmers convert to natural (or chemical-balanced) farming during the next three years. The PM Program for Restoration, Awareness, Nutrition, and Improvement of Mother Earth (PM PRANAM) would be implemented, incentivizing states and union territories to promote alternative fertilizers and balanced use of chemical fertilizers, according to the budget.
To assist farmers in storing their produce and obtaining fair prices through timely sales, a sizable decentralized storage capacity will be set up. Overall, the Union budget for this year makes a genuine effort to support agricultural technology and innovation in order to prepare the industry for the future. The establishment of an agriculture accelerator fund will provide a significant boost to the country’s growing agri-startups and even traditional farmers.