A missed opportunity for game-changing reforms in agriculture -Sukhpal Singh
-The Hindu Business Line
There are no schemes for much of agriculture, and small ruminants have been ignored.
The Economic Survey had a full chapter on agriculture and food management issues. It had a separate section on small ruminants for the first time, and also showed that only one of the ongoing schemes for the livestock sector attends to their concerns.
The Budget provides for creating a fund for upgrading of traditional industries of bamboo, honey and khadi by proposing to set up Common Facility Centres (CFCs) in 100 new clusters for 50,000 artisans under SFURTI, and 80 Livelihood Business Incubators (LBIs) and 20 Technology Business Incubators for creating 75,000 agro-rural entrepreneurs under ASPIRE. These are welcome moves.
But, the small ruminants have been ignored as is much of agriculture. There are no schemes for them in the Budget. It is a missed opportunity, that too, in a drought year.
A major announcement is the promotion of 10,000 Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) over the next five years, which is an ongoing focus and was in the air for some time. Currently, there are more than 5,000 FPOs in all, mostly producer companies, and a large proportion of them created as a part of policy push during the last few years through NABARD and budgetary support.
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