Budget : FM announces ‘Kisan drones’ for crop assessment

Insight Online News

New Delhi, Feb 1 : Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday made a slew of announcements in the agriculture sector, including Rs 2.37 lakh crore direct payment to 1.63 crore farmers for procurement of wheat and paddy, use of ‘Kisan drones’ for crop assessment, besides to promote ‘chemical free’ natural farming across the country. Presenting the Union Budget 2022-23 in the Lok Sabha, Sitharaman said, “The procurement of wheat in Rabi 2021-22 and the estimated procurement of paddy in Kharif 2021-22, will cover 1208 lakh metric tonnes of wheat and paddy from 163 lakh farmers, and 2.37 lakh crore direct payment of MSP value to their accounts.”

“Chemical free natural farming will be promoted throughout the country, with a focus on farmers’ lands in five km wide corridors along river Ganga, at the first stage,” the FM said. Citing that 2023 has been announced as the ‘International Year of Millets’, Sitharaman said, “Support will be provided for post-harvest value addition, enhancing domestic consumption, and for branding millet products nationally and internationally.” She also announced use of ‘Kisan drones’ for crop assessment, digitisation of land records, spraying of insecticides and nutrients.

The FM said that a new scheme will be launched in public-private partnership (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 added. Emphasising on the start-up ecosystem in agriculture, Sitharaman said that a fund with blended capital, raised under the co-investment model, will be facilitated through National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). This is to finance startups for agriculture and rural enterprise, relevant for farm produce value chain, she said.

The FM said that the government will provide a comprehensive package with participation of state governments so that the farmers can adopt suitable varieties of fruits and vegetables, and can use appropriate production and harvesting techniques. Sitharaman also announced the implementation of a comprehensive scheme for boosting domestic oilseeds production. “To reduce dependence on import of oilseeds, a rationalised and comprehensive scheme to increase domestic production of oilseeds will be implemented,” she said.


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