India’s Finance Minister pushes for high tech, chemical-free natural farming in Budget 2022-23; Kisan drones to be launched

Presenting the Budget 2022-23 in Parliament, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Centre will promote Kisan Drones, chemical-free natural farming, public-private partnerships for the delivery of digital and high-tech services to farmers across the country during the financial year 2022-23. 

Presenting the Budget 2022-23 in Parliament, Ms Sitharaman said the inclusive development is one of the four priorities of the government moving forward. As part of the inclusive development, the government will promote the use of ‘Kisan Drones’ for crop assessment, digitisation of land records and spraying of insecticides.

The government will also facilitate a fund with blended capital raised under the co-investment model through NABARD to finance agri start-ups and rural enterprises. “This is to finance start-ups for agriculture and rural enterprise relevant for farm produce value chain,” the FM said.

The activities of these start-ups will include inter-area support for farmer-producer organisations (FPOs), machineries for farmers on a rental basis at the farm level and technology including invitee base, she added.

The finance minister further said the government will promote chemical-free natural farming throughout the country with a focus on farmers lands in five-kilometre wide corridors along the longer river Ganga in the first stage.

To reduce the country’s dependence on imports of edible oils, she said a rationalised and comprehensive scheme to increase domestic production of oilseeds will be implemented.

On the procurement of agri-crops, the FM said the government’s procurement of wheat and paddy at the minimum support price (MSP) during 2021-22 will cover 1,208 lakh tonnes from 163 lakh farmers. “Rs 2.37 lakh crore will be the direct payment of MSP value to their accounts,” she said.

As 2023 has been announced as the International Year of Millets, the FM said the government will support post-harvest support for enhancing domestic consumption of millet products internationally. In addition, financial support will be provided to farmers belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes who want to take up agroforestry, she added.

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