Budget 2022 : Agriculture Sector – UPSC GS3

Agriculture sector:
  • Budget allocations for agriculture and allied activities have remained almost flat. The sector’s share in the overall Budget allocations fell from 3.92% in 2021-22 to 3.84%.
Chemical-free natural farming:
  • 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 government is also aiming at integrating the chemical-free approach into a long-term policy by including it in the agricultural education curriculum.
  • The Centre has sanctioned support for converting four lakh additional hectares of farmland in eight States to use the method. These schemes were sanctioned for financial support under the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana scheme, meant to promote organic farming and soil health, Vedic farming, ZBNF and a host of other traditional methods.
Use of technology in agriculture:
  • There has been an abundance of digital farming references in the Union Budget speech.
  • Use of ‘Kisan Drones’ will be promoted for crop assessment, digitization of land records, spraying of insecticides, and nutrients. The expansion of technology focus from just tractors and agri-machinery to ‘kisan drones’ shows rising interest in the application of IOT in the sector.
  • This will go a long way in helping Indian farmers reap the benefits of technological advancements.
Encouraging start-ups in the sector:
  • The Budget proposed the launch of a fund to finance agricultural start-ups.
  • The fund with blended capital, raised under the co-investment model, would be facilitated through NABARD. This would help finance start-ups for agriculture and rural enterprise.
  • The government envisages the delivery of digital and hi-tech services to farmers with the involvement of public sector research and extension institutions along with private agri-tech players and stakeholders of the agri-value chain, in a PPP [public-private partnership] mode.
Mainstreaming millets:
  • The government has announced support for post-harvest value addition, enhancing domestic consumption, and for branding millet products nationally and internationally.
    • 2023 had been previously announced as the International Year of Millets.
  • To reduce dependence on the import of oilseeds, a rationalised and comprehensive scheme to increase domestic production of oilseeds will be implemented.

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