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Budget 2023: Government Focuses On Sustainable and Technology-Driven Agricultural Practices

In the budget, the government announced measures that would help the sector to maintain the flow of growth. Additionally, it focussed on creating more jobs, improving entrepreneurial opportunities and enabling increased use of technologies

Budget 2023: Government Focuses On Sustainable and Technology-Driven Agricultural Practices

Akash Chatterjee

POSTED ON February 03, 2023 5:09 PM

Union Budget 2023, which was tabled on Wednesday, brought some good news for the Indian agriculture sector, which has been performing consistently well since the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite posing a declining growth of 3.4 per cent in the financial year 2020-21, agriculture and agri-allied sectors were the only areas that delivered positive numbers when the overall economic growth was down by -7.2 per cent. In the post-pandemic period, the sector grew by 3.9 per cent in FY 2021-22. 

The Economic Survey 2023 revealed that the Indian agriculture sector achieved an average annual growth rate of 4.6 per sector. It listed out some of the key challenges in the sector like increasing input costs, fatal impacts of climate change and fragmented landholdings. 

In the budget, the government announced measures that would help the sector to maintain the flow of growth. Additionally, it focussed on creating more jobs, improving entrepreneurial opportunities and enabling increased use of technologies. 

In an attempt to meet the vision, Finance Minister (FM) Nirmala Sitharaman announced an accelerated agritech fund to promote entrepreneurship in the agricultural field in rural areas. This move will encourage the growth of start-ups in the field. The finance minister also announced a digital public infrastructure as an open-source and open standard to enable farmers-friendly solutions. 

Welcoming these moves, Priyanka Wadhwa, co-owner of Kapila Krishi Udyog Limited and co-founder of CommsCredible, said, “Agro companies that are decades old will see increased productivity through the use of new-age technologies. Building a digital public infrastructure will also offer a host of farmer-centric solutions which will assist farmers in improving their farm output as well as income.”

In addition to improvement in output, the digital public infrastructure will help to improve access to market inputs and boost market intelligence, claimed Karthik Jayaraman, co-founder of Waycool.

Saket Chirania, the co-founder of Agrizy, commented, “This year’s budget makes a sincere attempt to promote technology and innovation in agriculture to make the sector future-ready. The setting up of an agriculture accelerator fund will provide a great boost to the budding agri-startups in the country.”

Regarding the accelerator fund, Deepak Aggarwal, co-founder of Moneyboxx, added that it will encourage young entrepreneurs in rural regions. He said, “The fund aims at providing innovative, affordable solutions for challenges faced by farmers. It will also help introduce modern technologies to transform agricultural practices while increasing productivity and profitability.”

Deepak Aggarwal
Deepak Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO of Moneyboxx

Along with accelerated agritech fund and digital public infrastructure, the agriculture sector got a clutch of other announcements. Sitharaman announced computerisation of 63,000 primary agricultural credit societies (PACs) and Rs 20 lakh crore agricultural credit targeted to animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries. 

Additionally, the budget proposed that the Indian Institute of Millet Research will be supported by the Centre For Excellence for research and technologies at the global level. 

Lauding these initiatives, Shashi Kant Singh, executive director of agri and natural resources of PwC India, said, “The Union Budget is incentivising a forward-looking vision for agriculture. Focus on accelerator funds for agri start-ups, higher agri credit allocation,  making India a global hub for millets, along with digital and functional rejuvenation of PACS, will have a long-lasting impact on the sector. A national agri stack, built as a public good for effective decision making, and farm advisory are commendable initiatives, which provide the much-needed thrust to the Indian agricultural sector.”

Shashi Kant Singh
Shashi Kant Singh, Executive Director, PwC

Shekar Sivasubramanian, CEO of Wadhwani AI, added, "The government of India is embracing AI technology to bring about positive change and improve the lives and livelihoods of farmers nationwide through public-private partnerships, extension services, and market linkages.”

The founder and chief business officer (CBO) of OneGreen, Abhijeet Bhattacharya hailed the budget for focusing on sustainable practises like organic farming initiatives while  B. Soundararajan the founder of Suguna Group, applauded it for taking the farmers-friendly initiative and allocating more funds than the previous budget.

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