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Budget Expectation – focuses on agri research, fertilizer subsidies, fight against climate change

Budget expectation for farming sector 2024

Budget Expectation – focuses on Agri research, fertilizer subsidies, fight against climate change

On June 21, farm organisations and experts met with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi to advocate for increased investment in agricultural research, rationalisation of fertiliser subsidies, and infrastructure development to strengthen the sector’s resilience to climate change.

The two-and-a-half-hour meeting saw calls to increase the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s (ICAR) budget from ₹ 9,500 crore to ₹ 20,000 crore.

MJ Khan, Chairman of the Indian Chamber of Food and Agriculture (ICFA), emphasized the importance of significant investment in agriculture research and development to promote sector growth and increase farmer incomes.

Also Read | Agriculture Ministry gets budget allocation of ₹ 1.27 lakh crore for FY2024–25

Experts at the meeting advocated for the consolidation of all agriculture-related subsidies for transfer through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), and proposed an increase in the retail price of urea, which remains unchanged since 2018.  They also emphasized the use of subsidies to promote biofertilizers and foliar fertilisers.

Ajay Vir Jakhar, Chairman of the Bharat Krishak Samaj, suggested separating funds for agricultural education and research. In addition, “despite the economic returns on agricultural research being ten times higher than other investments, budget rise over the past two decades have lagged behind inflation rates.”Additional proposals included dismantling the MSP committee, developing a new agricultural policy for India, and changing the funding ratio for human resource development in centrally sponsored schemes from 60:40 to 90:10, with the central government covering 90% of the cost for five years.

Experts also suggested increasing the budget allocation for the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) from ₹ 80 crore to ₹ 800 crore to boost farm exports. Creating district export hubs and launching a National Goat and Sheep Mission were also proposed.

The meeting was attended by prominent figures such as former CACP chief and agricultural economist Ashok Gulati, senior agriculture journalist Harish Damodaran, and representatives from the National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research and the United Planters’ Association of Southern India.

Also Read | Expert view on Budget FY24-25: Agri modernizing, investment, employment

As the government prepares for the 2024-25 budget, these recommendations highlight the critical need for reforms and increased investment in agriculture. The emphasis on addressing climate change challenges and meeting the goal of doubling farmers’ income particularly.
The Modi government plans to present the annual Budget for 2024-25 in July, and the results of this consultation are expected to have a significant impact in shaping agricultural policies.

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