Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said that the estimated procurement of wheat in Rabi 2021-22 and paddy in Kharif 2021-22 will cover 1,208 lakh metric tonnes of wheat and paddy from 163 lakh farmers.
"About Rs 2.37 lakh crores will be direct payment of Minimum Support Price (MSP) to their accounts," she said.
While presenting the Union Budget 2022-23 in the Parliament today, the Finance Minister said that a new scheme will be launched in the PPP mode under which farmers will be provided with digital and hi-tech services.
"There will be involvement of public sector research and extension institutions along with private agri-tech players and stakeholders of agri-value chain," she said.
While emphasizing on the start-up ecosystem in agriculture, Ms Sitharaman said that a fund with blended capital, raised under the co-investment model, will be facilitated through NABARD.
The aim of the fund will be to "finance startups for agriculture and rural enterprise, relevant for farm produce value chain". The activities for these startups will include, inter alia, machinery for farmers on a rental basis at farm level, and technology including IT-based support for FPOs.
The Finance Minister also said, "Implementation of the Ken-Betwa Link Project, at an estimated cost of 44,605 crore will be taken up".
Its aim is to provide irrigation benefits to 9.08 lakh hectares of farmers' lands, and will also provide "drinking water supply for 62 lakh people in addition to 103 MW of Hydro, and 27 MW of solar power".
She added that allocations of '4,300 crore in RE 2021-22 and '1,400 crore in 2022-23 have been made for this project.
Ms Sitharaman reiterated that the draft DPRs of five river links- Damanganga-Pinjal, Par-Tapi- Narmada, Godavari-Krishna, Krishna-Pennar and Pennar-Cauvery have been finalized. The Centre will provide support for implementation after the consensus among beneficiary states.
While highlighting the use of new technology, the Finance Minister said that the use of 'Kisan Drones' will be promoted for crop assessment, digitization of land records, spraying of insecticides, and nutrients.
The budget also focused on natural farming devoid of any chemical use. The Finance Minister said, "Chemical-free Natural Farming will be promoted throughout the country, with a focus on farmers' lands in 5-km wide corridors along river Ganga, at the first stage".
The budget provided for post-harvest value addition, enhancing domestic consumption, and for branding millet products nationally and internationally.
The Finance Minister announced the implementation of a comprehensive scheme for boosting domestic oilseeds production. She said, "To reduce dependence on import of oilseeds, a rationalised and comprehensive scheme to increase domestic production of oilseeds will be implemented".
She announced that the government will provide a comprehensive package with the participation of state governments so that the farmers can adopt "suitable varieties of fruits and vegetables", and can use "appropriate production and harvesting techniques".
Ms Sitharaman further highlighted that the states will be encouraged to revise syllabi of agricultural universities so as to meet the needs of natural, zero-budget and organic farming, modern-day agriculture, value addition and management.
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