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Union Budget 2024 Key Takeaways for Agriculture, Who Said What, Post Budget Reactions

Budget 2024 was tabled by the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for the last time on Thursday, February 1, 2024. She announced that PM Awas Yojana (Grameen) scheme would allow more people to buy and build their homes, free electricity would be provided, a rooftop solar programme would be introduced and medical coverage given to all government employees. Here's a look at who said what post budget.

Aysha Anam

Budget 2024, the final fiscal blueprint unveiled by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday, February 1, 2024, promised a transformative path for the nation. In a groundbreaking move, the PM Awas Yojana (Grameen) scheme took center stage, designed to empower more individuals to realize their dream of homeownership. Complementing this initiative, the budget proudly declared the provision of free electricity, a pioneering rooftop solar program, and comprehensive medical coverage for all government employees.

Demonstrating a keen focus on self-reliance, Sitharaman outlined a strategic plan for Atma Nirbharta in oilseeds production, signaling a commitment to bolstering India's economic independence. The budget further addressed the dairy industry, with ambitious plans to elevate milk and dairy production across the nation.

Underscoring the significance of agriculture, the Finance Minister assured the farming community that their income would be doubled, emphasizing value addition in the sector. This comprehensive approach aimed not only to secure the livelihoods of farmers but also to enhance the overall productivity of the agricultural landscape.

In a bid to maintain financial stability, the budget retained the status quo on direct and indirect taxes for the year 2024. Sitharaman's strategic decision aimed to strike a balance between economic growth and fiscal responsibility.

Perhaps one of the most uplifting announcements was the revelation that the average income of the populace had surged by an impressive 50%. This notable achievement reflected the government's commitment to fostering economic prosperity and improving the standard of living for the citizens.

Budget 2024: Who Said What

Balram Singh Yadav, Managing Director, Godrej Agrovet Limited said “The Interim Budget 2024-25 reiterates government's commitment to strengthening the ‘Annadata’ and backbone of our nation – our farmers. From direct financial assistance through PM-KISAN SAMMAN Yojana to expanding farmer-centric policies and promoting innovations, the budget paves the way for inclusive, sustainable growth in the agricultural sector. Initiatives such as e-NAM and PMMSY are empowering farmers with better market access and infrastructure, while the focus on enhancing the adoption of Nano-DAP clearly showcase government’s intent to handhold farmers amidst the continuously evolving weather conditions. The proposals to improve milk yields and aquaculture productivity in addition to achieving 'Atmanirbharta' for oilseeds, demonstrates the government's commitment to food security and livelihood of generation across diverse agricultural fields. Overall, today’s Interim Budget 2024-25 offers a promising roadmap for empowering our farmers, ensuring food security, and propelling the agricultural sector towards a brighter future.”

Simon Wiebusch, President of Bayer South Asia and Vice Chairman, MD & CEO of Bayer CropScience Ltd (BCSL) said, “The Finance Minister’s announcement, identifying women and farmers as key focus groups for powering India’s growth, has set the stage for policies that can substantially boost development in rural areas. I am also happy to see the government’s continued push to improve farmer incomes. Policies like the PM Kisan Sampada Yojana and the PM Fasal Bima Yojana, along with measures to promote private and public investment in post-harvest activities including modern storage, efficient supply chains, and marketing and branding will herald a transformative era in Agriculture.

While the budget’s focus on advancing sustainability initiatives across sectors, improving farmer incomes, and women empowerment will help fulfil the Prime Minister’s vision of a ‘Viksit Bharat’, its proactive approach on women’s health is a crucial step towards ensuring preventive healthcare for a large section of the population.”

Dr. Sat Kumar Tomar, Founder & CEO, Satyukt Analytics, said, "As Budget 2024 approaches, Satyukt Analytics envisions a pivotal role for advanced technologies in reshaping India's agricultural landscape. The government's commendable decision to provide ISRO's satellite data to the public holds vast potential for the agriculture sector. To fully harness this opportunity, we recommend prioritizing the automatic availability of satellite data for real-time integration into the agriculture delivery pipeline. Additionally, advocating for farm-scale credit assessments and crop insurance, promoting IoT and satellite-based technologies for efficient water usage, and encouraging precision agriculture advisories are vital steps. Policies incentivizing agri-tech startups to collaborate with institutions like KVKs and their involvement in awareness programs can further drive innovation. These initiatives align with Satyukt Analytics' commitment to fostering sustainable growth in agriculture and financial sectors through cutting-edge decision analytics."

Ajai Rana, Chairman, FSII, CEO and Managing Director, Savannah Seeds Pvt Ltd, said, "Having steered the economy to a glorious path in the last one decade with progressive reforms in agriculture, it is heartening to see the Finance Minister spell out the vision for making India Viksit by 2047 that relies on continued momentum on advances made so far. The Seed Industry is particularly happy to see the emphasis given on oilseeds and the imperative to make the sector self-reliant in this interim Budget.

"We welcome the Finance Minister’s announcement on Atmanirbhar Oilseeds Abhiyan with a focused strategy on achieving self-reliance in oilseeds, such as mustard, groundnut, soyabean, sesame and sunflower. This is a timely and effective step that shall augment our aspirations to become self-reliant in this critical sector. As India continues to make rapid strides towards being a world leader, it is vital that we embrace globally approved technologies. The industry applauds Government’s focus on high yielding varieties of seeds, adoption of modern farming techniques, market linkages, procurement, value addition and crop insurance.The Rs 1 lakh crore R&D corpus allocation for 50 years with low or nil interest is a visionary move guided by Hon PM's focus on Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, JaVigya & Jai Anusandhan."

"The focus on reform, perform and transform has been evident in the Government’s work in the last one decade. We sincerely hope in the Full Budget after the new government, we shall see the spirit reflected in aspirations of the seeds industry by way of GST rationalizations on seeds raw materials and services, deductions on R&D expenses, progressive environment for enabling more investments in the sector."

Mr. Anuj Kumbhat, Co-Founder & CEO, WRMS (Agritech Sector), said, "Investing in the future of Indian agriculture is paramount for sustainable economic growth. The agritech sector, being the beacon of innovation, has witnessed significant strides in 2023. To propel this momentum, we urge the government to allocate substantial funds in the upcoming budget, focusing on the comprehensive development of the agritech ecosystem. By prioritizing technological advancements and enhancing agriculture infrastructure, we can unlock the full potential of our second-largest contributor to the economy. Schemes promoting technology adoption, resource efficiency, reduced input costs, increased agricultural yields, and better forward-backward linkages are imperative. Additionally, subsidizing crop insurance, offering financial support for the acquisition of drones and accessories, and providing a conducive environment for startups through R&D, tax benefits, and automation incentives will make agriculture a resilient, tech-led powerhouse. Let this budget be a testament to our commitment to transform the agricultural landscape, ensuring prosperity for farmers and sustainable economic growth for the nation."

CA Aditya Sesh, Member of the Expert Committee in the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare in the Government of India and the Founder and managing director of Basiz Fund Service Private Limited, said, "Anticipate minimal revisions to the finance act, as the impending budget is an interim one. It will have some populist announcements tailored to appeal to the voters. The government's accomplishments in various schemes will be highlighted, showcasing their positive impact.

The budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, encompassing Agricultural Education and Research, in the Union Budget 2023-24 amounted to approximately Rs 1.25 lakh crore. Anticipating the upcoming budget, continuity in the allocation amount is expected, with no significant deviations. These micro-level adaptations may include reallocations for initiatives such as crop insurance, the introduction of new seed varieties, and strategies to mitigate fluctuations in fertilizer availability. In light of the election season, it is also reasonable to anticipate adjustments to the Minimum Support Price (MSP), particularly for key commodities such as wheat and rice. There is a likelihood of an upward revision in the allocation for crop insurance.

Notably, the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi will see an increase to 8000 per year as minimum income support. This is because the GDP growth has been better than expected which gives the government the headroom to contain the Fiscal deficit."

Kumar Ranjan, CEO & Co-Founder, eFeed, said, “The Indian Budget 2024's focus on integrating advanced technologies like AI, ML, and IoT into agriculture marks a transformative era for the sector. These technologies will enable precision agriculture and livestock management, significantly enhancing farmer productivity and ROI. The proposed tax incentives for adopting these technologies will catalyze innovation, driving a more efficient, sustainable future in farming. Additionally, the use of AI, ML, and IoT will improve the quality of produce, aligning with the global standards of agricultural excellence”Kumar Ranjan, CEO & Co-Founder, eFeed, said, “The Indian Budget 2024's focus on integrating advanced technologies like AI, ML, and IoT into agriculture marks a transformative era for the sector. These technologies will enable precision agriculture and livestock management, significantly enhancing farmer productivity and ROI. The proposed tax incentives for adopting these technologies will catalyze innovation, driving a more efficient, sustainable future in farming. Additionally, the use of AI, ML, and IoT will improve the quality of produce, aligning with the global standards of agricultural excellence.”

Budget Reaction Quote by Mr. Narinder Mittal, Country Manager & Managing Director – Agriculture Business, CNH India & SAARC, said, “The Interim Budget has reinforced the upliftment of farmers with the continuation of PM Kisan Samman Yojana, which annually extends direct financial assistance to a substantial 11.8 crore farmers. The focus on oilseed production and processing marks a significant stride in reducing import dependency while creating new avenues for the growth of the agricultural community. Additionally, the expansion of the crop insurance scheme to benefit 40 million farmers will enhance resilience against unforeseen risks.

"Moreover, the allocation of financial assistance to support the procurement of biomass aggregation is a commendable move. Encouraging farmers to participate in the bioenergy supply chain not only promotes sustainable agricultural waste management but also opens up new opportunities for income generation. This will catalyze the demand for cutting-edge farm machinery and crop management solutions, facilitating the adoption of modern farming practices powered by cutting-edge technologies. The decision to further promote private and public investment in post-harvest activities will help the agricultural ecosystem in India to flourish, encompassing every stage of the value chain, from production to market. Overall, we believe these initiatives will play a pivotal role in driving the agricultural sector towards prosperity and resilience.”

Shalabh Chaturvedi, Managing Director, CASE Construction Equipment, India & SAARC, said, “With the decision to increase Capex by ~11% to ~₹11 lakh crore, representing 3.4% of the GDP, for the fourth consecutive year, the government is reinforcing their focus on sustainable long term growth, enhancing the nation's infrastructural backbone. The introduction of the three major railway corridors and the expansion of airport facilities in the country is a welcome move in the direction of improving logistics as a GDP growth lever. Key rail infrastructure projects, including Metro Rail and Namo Bharat, expanding to more cities, convey a clear emphasis on connecting rural to urban Bharat. Furthermore, new initiatives to improve port connectivity, infrastructure, and facilities will open up opportunities for job creation while boosting tourism. It is a well-rounded budget that demonstrates the government's continued emphasis on important sectors.”

Nishant Kanodia, Chairman, Matix Fertilisers & Chemicals Ltd, said, "The Interim Budget focusses on Viksit Bharat by 2047, outlining a clear and practical road map for India’s growth. We remain a beacon of growth to the global economy, and measures supporting equitable and sustainable growth will promote progress. This budget promotes harmony with nature, incentivises modernisation of infrastructure, and opportunity for all. It outlines a clear strategy that strongly backs agriculture through farmer-friendly policies such as PM Kisan Samman Yojana and PM Fasal Bima Yojana. One of the key factors of inclusive growth is economic empowerment. It is heartening to learn that the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana has created 10 lakh employment and assisted 38 lakh farmers so far."

Puneet Vidyarthi, Head of Marketing & Business Development – India & Saarc, Case Construction Equipment & President, Rural Marketing Association of India, said, “This year’s budget is a people-centric budget with a solemn assurance of collective prosperity and inclusive development. The Direct Benefit Transfer provided by the government to farmers is a strong step that benefits over 11 crore farmers every year. The continued support in providing ‘pakka houses’ in rural India through the PM Awas Yojana is a step in the right direction.

Moreover, the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kasuhalya Yojana guarantees high quality skill training opportunities for the rural poor to secure a better future. India is home to over 200 million artisans and the sector is the second largest rural employer after agriculture. The continuity of this Yojana not only benefits the artisan community but is also a continuum of Bharat’s rich art and craft culture.”

Simon George, President Cargill India and Managing Director Cargill Food Business, South Asia, said, “The interim Budget is a vision pathway to create a "Viksit Bharat" by 2047. Intent to achieve atmanirbharta in oilseeds production, increased focus on dairy and fisheries farming and private and public investment in post-harvest activities like modern storage, efficient supply chains, and marketing, signal a transformative chapter in agriculture. I laud the Government’s intent to create an inclusive Bharat with a strong emphasis on youth, women, farmers, and marginalized communities. The Finance Minister’s announcement spotlighting women and farmers as pivotal drivers of India's development, and paves the way for policies poised to significantly enhance rural progress. These foundational policies are primed to ignite fresh opportunities, spur demand, and trigger economic growth.”

Dr KC Ravi, Chief Sustainability Officer, Syngenta India Pvt Ltd & Chairman, CropLife India, said, "The robust physical-digital-social infrastructure developed in the last decade has given the economy a good foundation for a Viksit Bharat by 2047. Digital infrastructure and infusion of technology is imperative to not only sustain the momentum but also to take the agriculture growth story to its logical conclusion. The focus on self-reliance in edible oils and investment in post-harvest activities are some of the measures that can make this happen.

"The full Budget has to address some pending reforms needed to further boost the impressive growth of India's agrochemical sector. An enabling predictable science based policy environment is absolutely essential to provide farmers cutting edge technologies to fight against climate threats besides the ever increasing complex pests and diseases threatening crop yields. It is important that the industry is encouraged to invest in R&D for bringing newer molecules and technologies complemented by AI and digital technologies. Rationalising GST on agrochemicals to 12% (from current 16%) and allocating sufficient budgetary resources to introduce performance-linked incentives (PLI) will go a long way in consolidating and strengthening the agrochemical sector. Strategic policy decisions will propel India towards this growth, ultimately leading to a significant positive impact on further enhancing farmers' income. These would give a decisive push for making Atmanirbhar Bharat."

Ashvin Patil, Founder and Director of Biofuels Junction, said, "A significant challenge addressed in the budget is the large-scale collection of stubble, particularly the capital-intensive process involving balers. Annually, India witnesses the generation of approximately 500 million tonnes of agricultural residue, offering a substantial business opportunity estimated at around Rs 50,000 crore. Unfortunately, nearly 200 million tonnes of this resource remain unused, often leading to environmentally detrimental burning practices.   This underscores the untapped potential for converting agricultural residues into biofuels.
"The recent budget announcement by the Finance Minister emphasizing measures such as financial assistance for biomass aggregation machinery outlines a crucial initiative to address this issue and unlock the economic and environmental benefits of converting agricultural residues into biofuels. The focus on transforming agri- waste into biofuels not only contributes to sustainable waste management but also aligns with the larger vision of promoting green growth and reducing carbon emissions in the country. It will also help farmers  generate income on agri-waste and boost and support the rural economy and communities and promote rural entrepreneurship."
"Furthermore, the announcement of the phased mandatory blending of compressed biogas (CBG) with compressed natural gas (CNG) for transport and piped natural gas (PNG) for domestic purposes will help integrate sustainable and renewable energy sources into the mainstream fuel supply, promoting environmental responsibility and reducing dependence on traditional fossil fuels. The mandated blending of CBG in CNG and PNG represents a proactive step towards fostering a cleaner and greener energy ecosystem, aligning with the broader goals of sustainable development and reducing carbon emissions in the transportation and domestic sectors."

In essence, Budget 2024 unfolded as a strategic roadmap for inclusive growth, innovation, and sustainability, leaving an indelible mark on the nation's journey towards progress.

Also Read: Union Budget 2024: FM Nirmala Sitharaman Highlights Need To Focus on 'Annadata'

Also Read: Interim Budget Reflects Government’s Commitment to Farmers and Social Welfare, Says Union Agriculture Minister

Also Read: Anticipation Peaks as India Gears Up for Union Budget 2024, Last Stop Before Lok Sabha Elections 2024

Also Read: Fin Min Says, 'eNAM Platform Integrated 1,361 Mandis, Serves Crores of Farmers'

Also Read: Budget 2024 Wishlist: Tax on Rich Farmers To Induce Taxation Fairness

Also Read: Budget 2024 For Agriculture: Agrochemical Industry Seeks Budget Boost for Aatmanirbhar Bharat


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