New Delhi, June 11: “The concerns of Agriculture Sector are high on the priority of the present Government. We will hold broad based consultations with stakeholders from fisheries sector to bring about blue revolution by optimally using our maritime resources”, assured Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while having pre-budget consultations with different stakeholder Groups in connection with the forthcoming General Budget 2019-20.
Sitharaman focussed on the measures to boost Economic and Social Infrastructure of Rural Sector and ways to eradicate unemployment and poverty through development of Agriculture and Allied Sectors as well as Non-Farm Sector.
Stressing on the representation of the different Regions of the country, she said that the their specific needs relating to these sectors can also be considered. She also stressed upon encouraging start-ups which can remove the segmentation in agriculture market and help in providing remunerative markets for agriculture products and supplying it to the final consumers at reasonable prices.
The main areas of discussion during the meeting included agriculture research & extension services, rural development, non-farm sector, horticulture, food processing, animal husbandry, fisheries and start-ups in agricultural sector among others.
During the meeting representatives of the Agricultural and Rural Development sectors submitted various suggestions to boost investment in agricultural sector and enhance market access to farmers. Suggestions were also given to improve food processing sector and introduction of technology-intensive processes in non-farm sector.
It was also suggested that solar energy may be treated as third crop to augment income of farmers. Incentivising and popularising usage of organic manure for improving carbon content in soil, resolving GST issues related to Farmers Producers Organisations (FPO), incentive for agro processing units in the border districts and enhancing investments in R&D in agriculture centre.
Few suggestions for dairy sector were also submitted related to tax and duty structure and improving Prime Minister Krishi Sinchai Yojna (PMKSY). With the budget session aligned on the fifth of next month, FM Sitharaman also believed important to think connect to the industry and trade modules, citing tax evolutions.